May 26, 1937: Ford Motor Co. security guards attack union organizers and supporters attempting to distribute literature outside the plant in Dearborn, Mich., in an event that was to become known as the “Battle of the Overpass.” The guards tried to destroy any photos showing the attack, but some survived—and inspired the Pulitzer committee to establish a prize for photography.
ANNAPOLIS, MD – (L-R) Chris Greene, LU355; Moe Jackson, LU570; Neil Dixon, LU570; Kevin Davidson, LU570; Dave Belisle, LU355; Denis Taylor, LU355; Flanders Flowers, LU355; Dan Taylor, LU355; Chip Elgert, LU355; Marisol Young, LU570; Joe Smith, LU355; (hidden); Mark Garey, LU355; Ed Mulford, LU355; Eric Wood, LU355; Don Hamre, Local 355; Pat O’Toole, LU355; Lance Miller, LU355; Jim Deene, LU355; and J.R. McClung, LU570. Not pictured: Rich Brown, LU570.
Md. House Labor And Employment Committee kills proposed RTW legislation Apr. 3, 2017| Anti-union lawmakers introduced right-to-work legislation January 30, 2017, in the State’s House of Delegates. At a February 14 Labor and Employment Committee hearing on the bill, Local 355 and Local 570 union members (pictured) and other unions and working families’ supporters packed the House chamber in Annapolis to oppose the anti-worker legislation. A USW representative said the notion that RTW creates economic growth is false, rather it’s sole objective is to weaken unions and attack wages. Delegate Donna Edwards denounced the bill. “This bill is dressed up in a feel-good slogan but it is pro-employer.” The committee issued an unfavorable report, effectively killing the companion bill in the State Senate.
Teamsters: ‘Buy American and Hire American’ Executive Order benefits U.S. jobs, production Apr. 18, 2017|The Teamsters support today’s signing of the ‘Buy American and Hire American’ Executive Order by President Donald Trump. The initiatives that promote American workers and investment in domestic products will help the country take a positive step toward a stronger economy. The order routines federal procurement policies that will focus on utilizing goods, products, and materials produced in the United States. It directs federal agencies to minimize the use of waivers and exemptions that allow them to bypass the Buy America laws that encourage the use of American-made products. Read more at cnn.com
Budweiser delivery Teamsters strike shuts down Long Island distribution Apr. 25, 2017|Teamsters who deliver, sell, and merchandise Budweiser, Heineken, and other beer products to Nassau and Suffolk Counties will be on strike starting Monday, Teamsters Local 812 announced today. The over 100 drivers and warehousemen, who work for Clare Rose, a private beer distribution company, voted down management’s “final offer” Friday, which would have imposed 30% wage cuts and ended the drivers’ pension. teamstersnyc
Tell Congress to repeal the 40% excise tax on worker's health benefits Apr. 27, 2017 | Last month, the Republicans in Congress tried to garner support for the American Health Care Act (AHCA). This bill was an attempt to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), and it was withdrawn because there were not enough votes to pass the legislation. The Republican caucus has not given up and is now trying to attach an amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) to the bill so that it has the necessary votes to pass in the House. The MacArthur amendment does nothing to mitigate the original Teamster concerns with the legislation. Take action! The Teamsters have long opposed any attempt to tax employer-provided health care benefits and were successful in helping to delay the 40% excise tax on comprehensive insurance plans… Members Only
WASHINGTON (PAI) — Citing the need for better education of construction firms and workers about how to battle exposure to cancer-causing crystalline silica dust, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) delayed the start of enforcement of its new silica exposure rule by three months.
In its April 6 statement, the agency said it needs “to conduct additional outreach and provide educational materials and guidance for employers” because of “the unique nature of the requirements in the construction standard.”
So enforcement will start on Sept. 23, 2017, not June 23, the agency said. OSHA’s new standard would cut worker exposure to silica, now 100 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift, to 50 micrograms/cubic meter. Workers who inhale the dust can develop silicosis or lung cancer.
The delay upset the AFL-CIO which, like the building trades, has lobbied for years to curb worker exposure to silica dust.
“The labor movement has fought for decades to win this lifesaving rule, and any further delay is unacceptable. The longer the Trump administration delays, the more workers will suffer and die. This action alone will lead to an additional 160 worker deaths. We will do everything possible to make sure this commonsense rule is not taken away. Workers’ lives are at stake,” Federation President Richard Trumka said.
OSHA did not say what it would do about the enforcement start for silica exposure for other industries, in 2018. And the delay doesn’t mean OSHA will walk away from cutting construction worker exposure to silica dust.
“OSHA expects employers in the construction industry to continue to take steps either to come into compliance with the new permissible exposure limit or to implement specific dust controls for certain operations as provided in Table 1 of the standard,” it said. “Construction employers should also continue to prepare to implement the standard’s other requirements, including exposure assessment, medical surveillance, and employee training.”
Local 570 stewards brush up on their skills at bi-annual seminar March 2017| (Click image above to enlarge) Update: Additional photos can be viewed here and here.
Every two years the Local 570 Executive Board sponsors a training seminar for its frontline stewards and alternate stewards. More than 130 stewards are attending this year’s seminar in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Top on the agenda is a frank discussion about the threat posed to American workers by the national RTW bill (H.B. 785, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in early February) – what it is, and what it is not. Other areas of training include the IBT’s role in fighting RTW; the importance of Organized Labor’s role in the continued fight to improve conditions and protections in the American workplace; workman’s comp, health & welfare and pension information; and best practices of the grievance procedures. Stay tuned for more photos here, and additional coverage in the next issue of The 570 Express.
Baltimore City Council committee passes $15-an-hour minimum wage bill Mar. 3, 2017| The Baltimore City Council’s labor committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 for many workers. The bill could go to the full council for a preliminary vote as early as Monday. A majority of the City Council members have said they back the bill. The minimum wage in Maryland is $8.75 per hour, set to rise to $10.10 an hour by 2018… baltimoresun.com
Pepsi members overwhelmingly ratifies a 5-year contract Mar. 6, 2017| Bulk drivers, engineers, sales merchandisers, warehouse workers, fleet mechanics, and systems operators approved in February a contract that brings all Local 570 members employed at the Columbia and White Marsh, Md., facilities under one agreement. Among other gains, the contract significantly improves benefits, reducing by as much as half the annual deductions and out-of-pocket costs to members.
New! Apply online for Hoffa Memorial Scholarship before March 31 Mar. 13, 2017| Sons and daughters of Teamster members can now apply online for the 2017 James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship. Academic scholarship awards either a $10,000 award split up over four years at $1,250 per semester or a one-time $1,000 award. Training and Vocational scholarship awards up to $2,000, depending on financial need. (See scholarship amount details in the applications.) “We’d like to see more of our kids continue their education with the help of our Teamster scholarships,” said Denis Taylor, Teamster Joint Council 62 president, and president of Local 355 in Baltimore. “The money is there, it’s available for your son or your daughter. All you have to do is fill out the form and hit send. But you must do it before the March 31, 2017, deadline.”
Tell Congress to oppose the American Health Care Act Mar. 23, 2017| The House is planning to vote today on the American Health Care Act, the legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This bill would repeal all of the other taxes that were included in the ACA, except for the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” which imposes a 40% excise tax on workers’ health benefit plans. With repeal of these other taxes, insurers, corporations, and the wealthy get a tax cut. Hard working middle class Americans only get a delay in the “Cadillac Tax,” not full repeal. Upon implementation of the “Cadillac Tax,” millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Teamster members could see their health care benefits scaled back or dropped. We need you to call upon your representative and urge them to vote AGAINST the American Health Care Act. Take action now!
Teamsters launch campaign to fight back against right-to-work Mar. 28, 2017| The Teamsters are planning to mobilize and campaign against right-to-work laws (RTW), both on the federal level and in western states, the Southern California Teamster reports. To make sure members know how to contact their lawmakers, the paper has published the names, office suite numbers in D.C., and phone numbers of every single U.S. representative in Southern California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Arizona….”For starters,” the paper says, “the object is to tell lawmakers about the importance of shooting down the legislation amending the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Railway Labor Act.” peoples world.org
Slashing Amtrak funding is shortsighted Mar. 29, 2017| Instead of bolstering the national passenger railroad that plays an essential role in the U.S. transportation system, proposed budget cuts would reduce service to some 23 states where long distance Amtrak trains currently make stops. The move would eliminate the jobs of more than a thousand rail Teamsters aligned with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the Brotherhood of Maintenance and Way Employees Division(BMWED)… teamster.org
Teamsters strongly oppose national right-to-work legislation Feb. 2, 2017| The Teamsters Union strongly opposes national ‘right-to-work’ legislation introduced yesterday in Congress that will hurt workers and their unions. The destructive anti-worker bill, H.R. 785, is sponsored by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) and would amend the National Labor Relations Act and Railway Labor Act to institute damaging right to work in all states... teamster.org
Anti-union forces set sites on Iowa public sector Feb. 20, 2017| Just days after Missouri enacted so-called right-to-work legislation, Republicans in Iowa are pushing forward with an effort to restrict collective bargaining for public sector workers. State and local government workers in the Hawkeye State would be prohibited from negotiating issues such as health insurance, seniority or extra pay. The bill would also make it more difficult for unions to collect dues. Iowa Teamsters, whose members include many working in law enforcement, have been active in an effort to defeat the legislation… teamster.org
Teamster International Officer election certified Feb. 21, 2017| The results of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters election of officers have been certified by election supervisor Richard Mark. The certification can be viewed here. General President Jim Hoffa, General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall, International Vice Presidents and International Trustees elected in the membership vote will begin a five-year term in mid-March.
WASHINGTON (PAI) — Leaders of the AFL-CIO and the Service Employees promised to rigorously probe the record of Alexander Acosta, dean of a Florida law school and chairman of a South Florida bank, who is GOP President Donald Trump’s new nominee for Secretary of Labor.
Acosta is also a former Republican named National Labor Relations Board member. Trump announced his nod for Acosta, 46, who is also a former U.S. attorney for Miami and law clerk for conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, before Alito joined that court, on Feb. 16.
Trump named Acosta barely 24 hours after the president’s first choice, fast food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew in the face of certain Senate defeat. Workers, unions and their allies exposed his bad record on workers’ rights, the minimum wage, overtime pay, safety and health violations and wage theft at his restaurants and sexism in the firms’ ads.
Unions celebrated Puzder’s withdrawal with an early-morning rally near the Capitol. Later, they had cautious reactions to Acosta. But ThinkProgress, a progressive blog, raised questions about Acosta’s record in George W. Bush’s Justice Department’s civil rights division. For his part, Trump, meeting earlier with the self-named Trump Caucus of lawmakers, called Acosta, “a star, a great person, a great person.” “Working people changed the game on this nomination. Unlike Andy Puzder, Alexander Acosta’s nomination deserves serious consideration. In one day, we’ve gone from a fast-food CEO who routinely violates labor law to a public servant with experience enforcing it,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said. “We will of course review Mr. Acosta’s record as thoroughly as we did the previous nominee’s. Mr. Acosta will have to answer tough questions and explain how he will enforce and uphold labor laws to benefit working people and not further tilt the balance of power toward corporate CEOs. “The Labor Secretary is not just another Cabinet member. His or her actions directly impact our wages, safety, and rights on the job every single day. We will judge this nominee by the commitment he shows to making life better for working people,” Trumka added. “Working people are still in this fight for an economy and political system that works for all of our families and where hard work means our families can get ahead,” added Service Employees President Mary Kay Henry. “This is the lens through which we will examine” Acosta’s record. “Workers will stay in the streets to demand a Labor Secretary who is a champion for working people and fights to represent their interests in our economy,” Henry promised. The Puzder nomination drew mass protests, including from his own fast food chains’ workers.ThinkProgress said the real problem with Acosta, who if confirmed would be the sole Hispanic-American in Trump’s Cabinet, is not with Acosta’s 125 written opinions in a 14-month stint as an NLRB member, but with his Civil Rights Division record. ThinkProgress reported Acosta led the division from 2003-2005, at a time when another senior division official, Bradley Schlozman, used his hiring authority to slant the division staff by picking attorneys from lists submitted or analyzed, by right-wing groups. Acosta denied he knew what Schlozman was doing, as Schlozman “hired conservative lawyers hostile to the CRD’s mission, purging the agency of people who believed in the work it exists to do,” ThinkProgress said. “Schlozman’s ploy did long-lasting damage to federal work on voting rights violations, police abuse, and other assaults on Americans’ rights.” But other DOJ staffers from that era complained directly to Acosta about Schlozman’s activities, according to the Justice Department’s Inspector General. And Acosta told the IG “he became more concerned about Schlozman’s judgment…as a result of discussions Acosta had with retiring Voting Section Chief Joseph Rich about Schlozman’s management. Yet, Acosta took no action to alert those in his chain of command,” the report found.
Acosta left the division but didn’t report his suspicions until 2007, after several Republican senators raised the roof over the slanted hiring in the division and among U.S. attorneys. ThinkProgress also reported Acosta was involved tangentially in GOP efforts to suppress the minority vote in the 2004 presidential election in Ohio.
Cool labor book: ‘A People’s History of the United States’ Jan. 3, 2017| If your last serious read of American history was in high school – or even in a standard college course – you’ll want to read this amazing account of America as seen through the eyes of its working people, women and minorities. Howard Zinn (1922-2010) was a widely respected historian, author, playwright, and social activist. In A People’s Historyof the United States: 1492-Present, he turns history on its head with his carefully researched and dramatic recounting of America and its people – not just its bankers, industrialists, generals and politicians. This book will give you a whole new way of looking at and understanding the world around you. Order it at Union Communication Services.
Trucker deaths top all others in the workforce Jan. 6, 2017| The Teamsters for years have been front-and-center in the fight for ensuring proper rest breaks for truckers. A new government report shows why that effort is so very important. A National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries for 2015 found that heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers recorded 745 fatal injuries, the most of any occupation… teamster.org
University of California Teamsters go on strike for fair wages, pensions Jan. 10, 2017| Today, thousands of University of California (UC) administrative, clerical and support workers are on strike across the Golden State, taking a stand against a UC system that has turned its back on them by not paying them a wage that allows them to support themselves and their families. More than 12,000 workers, members of 2010, walked off the job Tuesday to protest the numerous unfair practices and violations of state law committed by UC… huffingtonpost.com
Contract negotiations update Jan. 11, 2017| TransDev members approved a three-year agreement that maintains health and welfare benefits, and provides for a two percent company contribution to an employee’s account whether or not the employee makes contributions. Members who distribute and store oil and gas products at Sunoco… Continued
Hoffa: Withdrawal from the TPP the right choice for U.S. trade policy Jan. 24, 2017| [Yesterday], President Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw the United State from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. With his decision, the president has taken the first step toward fixing 30 years of bad trade policies that have cost working Americans millions of good-paying jobs… teamster.org
Hoffa addresses Red Cross meeting Jan. 30, 2017| Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa addressed 100 attendees, who gathered in Washington, DC at the Red Cross headquarters on January 24, to review the progress that has been made since 2014 and the challenges ahead. “We all know the story of the unions and the Red Cross and hopefully our battles are behind us,” Hoffa said. “We have turned a corner and we now have in pace a national addendum covering 4,000 unionized workers across the country. This was a big accomplishment. Our members are committed to supporting this great institution and we are proud to represent them.” Today, 20 Teamster Locals is 13 states [including Local 570] provide effective workplace representation to workers who collect blood from donors and transport lifesaving products to hospitals and Red Cross facilities around the country… Read more at teamster.org
President Hoffa interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto * Jan. 27, 2017| On Wednesday, Hoffa discussed jobs, trade, infrastructure investment and minimum wage increases on Fox News. Watch the interview here. * On Friday, Hoffa appeared on CNBC's Closing Bell.
Teamsters add gender identity to non-discrimination policy Jan. 27, 2017| The IBT instructed its locals across the United Stated to update their bylaws this year, declaring that members can no longer discriminate against a fellow worker based on mental disability or gender identity. Members of the union took an oath under the old laws that had them swear to not “discriminate against a fellow worker on account of race, color, religion, sex, age, physical ability, national origin or sexual orientation.” The addendum to the bylaws, which went into effect on January 1, now says that workers can’t discriminate against “any other legally protected group” either. .. newnownext.com
Negotiations for new contract underway at Pepsi Jan. 25, 2017| The Union’s bargaining team is meeting this week with Pepsi representatives in Baltimore to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement that will cover Local 570 members at the White Marsh and Columbia, Md. plants. Pepsi workers are currently covered under separate contracts. The large committee is comprised of stewards from both locations. Photo (L-R, seated): Richard Taylor/Columbia; Local 570 Principle Officer and Chief Negotiator Sean Cedenio; Local 570 President and Business Agent Rich Brown; Sidney Beatty/Columbia; Wayne Waddle/Columbia; Jeff Allen/Columbia. (L-R, standing): Sean Dotlin/Columbia; Curtis Jett/Columbia; Dan Poreca/Columbia; Local 570 Office Secretary Dawn Wagner; Butch Heavel/White Marsh; David Arroro/Columbia; James Testerman/Columbia; Kendall Johnson/Columbia; Dennis Thomas/White Marsh; and Nick Tyson/Columbia.
Teamsters Union disappointed in latest pipeline decision
Dec. 5, 2016 | The Teamsters Union is disappointed in a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to not grant an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision blocks two years of review, approvals by four states and approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and two federal courts upholding the project.
Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Tom Price, whom President-elect Trump will nominate to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, both said that they were moving to “reform” Medicare in the next Congress. Alliance members will be directly lobbying members of Congress and Senators in Washington and in their home districts, The Alliance will also campaign online and feature dozens of personal stories about why Medicare’s guaranteed benefits are so important on its website, https://retiredamericans.org, and social media.
“Our members are irate. they paid into the Medicare system for decade, and heard President-elect Trump repeatedly promise to protect their earned health care benefits. We will fight tooth and nail to protect Medicare from those who try to turn the earned benefits of Medicare into Coupon-care,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance.
Construction jobs among nation’s most dangerous, 2015 stats show Nov. 1, 2016| If you want a relatively safe job from illness and injury, don't work in a nursing home, a hospital or in construction the latest federal data show. That’s because the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports those three industry sectors had the highest rates of injuries and illness last year… teamster.org
Your vote is your voice in the election of top Teamster officials Nov. 10, 2016| The secret ballot must be returned to a post office box controlled by the OES by 9am Monday, Nov. 14th.The count is scheduled to start Monday, Nov. 14th.
IBT vote count is underway Nov. 17, 2016| The ballots are in and the count began on Monday. To get the latest on the vote results, click here.
Hoffa-Hall re-elected to five-year term to lead union Nov. 21, 2016| Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa, General Secretary-Treasurer, International Vice Presidents At-Large, International Trustees and International Vice Presidents in the Eastern, Southern and Central Regions were elected Friday night in the 2016 Election of International Union Officers, according to unofficial results provided by the Office of the Election Supervisor. “This was a hard-fought campaign and a historically close election,” Hoffa said. “Though we have many challenges before us, now is the time to join together as brothers and sisters and stand strong against those who would destroy the labor movement and deny worker’s the gains that have struggled to achieve. We will continue to lead the fight to organize the unorganized, ensure strong health care, good wages, a secure retirement and holding employers and politicians accountable.” Continue reading…
Teamsters urge court intervention to protect public interest in mega beer merger Oct. 13, 2016| In a comment letter submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week, the Teamsters raises serious questions whether the Antitrust Division has adequately remedied the harm to competition resulting from the largest beer merger in history – the $107 billion merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) with SABMiller… teamster.org
Teamsters celebrate school bus safety week Oct. 18, 2016| The International Brotherhood of Teamsters announced the formation of the Teamsters National School Bus Safety Committee in honor of National School School Bus Safety Week, which begins today. The committee s being formed to address issues at school bus companies throughout the United States and Canada. Learn more about the campaign at teamsters.org
Teamsters call for government intervention in LA ports crisis Sept. 6, 2016| The bankruptcy of Hanjin, a major Korean shipper, is causing chaos at the Port of Los Angeles with dozens of ships and a half million cargo containers stranded at sea in the Port of Los Angeles. The livelihoods of many workers, from ship crews to workers who handle the cargo at the dock, are threatened. Members of Congress, the Chair of the Federal Maritime Commission and labor leaders are calling on government action in the cargo delivery crisis... uslabornews.com
Hoffa: Don't let GOP curb new pro-worker rules Sept. 7, 2016| …The Teamsters have been out front on these issue, even passing a resolution of support during its 29th International Convention in June. Why? Because the union believes in the fundamental principle that employers who receive federal taxpayers' money should comply with federal labor law. That means rejecting wage theft, safety violations and discrimination on the job… teamster.org
Virginia Teamsters protest state's incentives to help MillerCoors Sept. 13, 2016| [Note: Both North Carolina and Virginia are right-to-work states.] The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) board was confronted by out-of-work Virginians protesting the commonwealth's decision to provide a $500,000 grant, plus tax breaks and other incentives to MillerCoors in exchange for only 27 new jobs at its Shenandoah Valley brewery. The workers' jobs are being destroyed by MillerCoors as it shuts its Eden brewery in neighboring North Carolina this month. Of the 500 jobs lost in Eden, 122 were held by Virginia workers… craftbrewingbusiness.com
Today is #StopTPP call-in day: Make the call against this job-killing trade deal Sept. 14, 2016| We urge all Teamsters to join in this action and flood Congress's phone lines today with calls to every lawmaker asking them to pledge their opposition to the TPP. The TransPacific Partnership is a 12-nation corporate power grab that will ship thousands of jobs overseas, lower wages in the U.S. and undermine laws that protect workers and the environment. Please call your senators and representatives now at 844-394-8431 – tell them to commit to standing firm against the TPP.
Teamster women take over Hollywood... Sept. 28, 2016| Hundreds of Teamster women marched through the streets of Hollywood, California on Friday, Sept. 23, in support of University of California (UC) Teamsters [Local 2010], and their fight for better wages. Teamsters attending the union’s annual women’s conference joined the rally where they called on the UC system to deliver a fair contract… peoplesworld.org
Five-year contract unanimously approved at American Yeast Sept. 28, 2016| Lab technicians, mechanics and utility workers employed at the American Yeast production facility in Baltimore, yesterday ratified a five-year contract – the first as members of Local 570*. The new collective bargaining agreement came with the full recommendation of the negotiating committee. It includes an 11% wage increase over term, plus a one-time bonus at the beginning of each contract year. Other highlights include improvements in bereavement leave, grievance and arbitration procedures, and the formula by which vacation leave is calculated. In addition, effective Nov. 1st, members will participate in the Warehouse Employees Local No. 570 Health & Welfare Trust Fund, a move that will also increase members’ take-home pay significantly. “This is the best thing we ever did,” said shop steward Wayne Winiarski, referring to the ratified contract. More on the American Yeast agreement in the upcoming issue of our Local Union newsletter. * The group was formerly a unit of Teamsters Local Union 311 that in 2015 merged with Teamsters Local 570.
Update: New contracts at Costco, National Gypsum, Potts & Callahan Aug. 16, 2016| Costco members (and their counterparts in New York and New Jersey) overwhelmingly ratified an agreement under which they will be covered by the Western Conference of Teamsters pension plan for the first time in the history of their membership. Continued…
National Dems back $15 min. wage. Baltimore Dems, not so much Aug. 12, 2016| The bill is in real danger of failing, Councilman Robert Curran told In These Times, as advocates for the legislation have been unable so far to line up the required eight votes for final passage.
Baltimore's Democratic City Council kills $15 minimum wage bill, for now Aug. 17, 2016| The Baltimore City Council derailed a proposed increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour Monday, highlighting the ambivalence among many Democratic Party leaders over whether to support the national Fight for $15 movement. Pro-business members on the all-Democrat 15-member council were able to hold together an alliance against the higher minimum wage and voted 8-6 to return the proposed legislation to committee for revision. The maneuver appears to have effectively killed the bill, at least for this year. inthesetimes.com
Teamsters Union endorses Hillary Clinton for President Aug. 30, 2016| The Teamsters General Executive Board last week unanimously voted to endorse the former senator and secretary of state. "We are proud to endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. "She is the right candidate for the middle class and working men and women across the country. She will stand strong for the workers of America by fighting to reject job-killing trade deals, enforcing labor laws and working to provide retirement security for millions of people who have sacrificed so much for the chance to retire with dignity…" teamster.org
Watch last week's Teamster Leadership Debate Aug. 30, 2016| Fred Zuckerman and Ken Hall, candidates for Teamster top offices, participated in a debate last Thursday at the National Press Club: c-span.org
Teamster convention approves slate of resolutions on final day July 6, 2016| Attendees at our union's 29th annual convention approved resolutions that clarify the union's policy stances on everything from airline organizing to worker misclassification. A full slate of resolutions can be read here. (Note: The convention is the highest governing body of the union, subject to the right of referendum by the membership. The General Executive Board has the authority to carry out the policies and directives approved by convention action.)
First Local 570 American Red Cross Blood Drive a success July 18, 2016| Union members and neighbors from our community came to the Union Hall yesterday to donate blood during our all-day American Red Cross Blood Drive. More than 20 people spent less than hour during which they donated an average of one pint of blood. (Fact: Each pint of donated blood can save up as many as three lives.) "We are very pleased with the turn out," said 570 Recording Secretary Rich Brown. "We'll have more drives as part of our community service. And we'll be sure to give early notice to our companies and community with the goal of increasing participation." Pictured with the Red Cross Blood Drop, left to right are Local 570 Vice President Neil Dixon, Business Agent Joe Fowler, Rich Brown, and Local 570 Secretary Dawn Wagner.
Code red heat warning in Baltimore July 25, 2016| The Baltimore health commissioner is urging residents to prepare for 100-degree heat on Monday that could pose dangers for the young and elderly. The temperature is forecast to reach as high as 100 degrees, but it could feel as hot as 109 with humidity and wind factored in, according to the National Weather Service… baltimoresun.com Read the Teamster fact sheet on heat stress here.
Teamsters Local 570
Sunday, July 17, 2016
10:00 am – 3:30 pm
Teamster 570 Union Hall
6910 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224
To schedule your life-saving donation, visit
or contact Joe Fowler or Rich Brown
Prevent a summer shortage. Give blood.
Teamsters take their fight for justice to David's Bridal customers June 7, 2016| Several Teamsters local unions last weekend alerted David's Bridal about the company's unsustainable debt and terrible customer service record. US Foods is co-owned by Wall Street firm CD&R, a private equity company that also owns David's Bridal, the wedding dress/wedding services retail chain. It's not just ownership that US Foods and David's Bridal have in common… More about why this matters here.
Midwest Teamsters win surprise victory, force gov't not to slash their pensions June 8, 2016| In a stunning demonstration of the power of grassroots organizing, retired Teamster union members across the Midwest have forced the federal government to back down on plans to slash pensions on thousands of retired workers. The initial decision in favor of the retired truck drivers came May 6. Karen Friedman, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Pension Rights Center, credited an effective media relations effort and constituent-contact campaign from grassroots retiree groups in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and elsewhere, for blocking the cuts… inthesetimes.com
USF strike line extended to Minneapolis June 8, 2016| This afternoon 325 drivers, warehouse, yard and maintenance workers and office staff who are members of Local 120 refused to cross our extended picket lines. They join US Foods workers in New Jersey, Indiana, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Illinois, New York, and Ohio who took similar action last month. Other actions took place across Southern California and in Phoenix in May. In all, more than 2,800 Teamster brothers and sisters have either gone out on strike or honored our picket lines at some time since the company forced us to walk out April 28th in an unfair labor practices strike. Photos here…
US Foods, one of two Teamster locals reach agreement over warehouse closure June 10, 2016| ...Members of Local 570 of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters ratified the agreement Wednesday night, the company said in a statement. "Last night union members ratified the agreement, which provides them with severance, health care and transition assistance," Debra Ceffalio, a US Foods spokeswoman, said in the statement. "Closing this facility was a difficult decision; however, it was necessary to more cost-effectively service our customers throughout the area by removing excess capacity and reducing overlap between our distribution centers."... baltimoresun.comNote: The fight with US Foods in Baltimore and elsewhere is not over. Local 355's strike line remains in place, and other strategic actions will continue until US Foods comes to a fair and just agreement with the union.
Contracts ratified at Toyota, Cloverland, Pepsi, and others June 21, 2016| During the last several months the Local's bargaining teams have worked tirelessly to bring tentative agreements to members for their approval and ratification. Among new contracts recently approved is a three-year agreement with Toyota that provides wage increases and enrollment in the Teamsters 570 pension plan, a significant improvement for members. Continued...
Teamster Local 570 Blood Drive: Give blood, save a life June 22, 2016| We're sponsoring an American Red Cross blood drive at our hall on Sunday, July 17, 2016. Please do your part to prevent a summer shortage: Sign up, show up, give blood! Details here.
Costco Teamsters in the East join Western Conference Pension Plan June 24, 2016| Teamsters who work at Costco in Maryland, New York and New Jersey have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement under which they will be covered by the Western Conference of Teamsters pension plan for the first time in the history of their membership. The Western Conference is the largest Taft-Hartley defined-benefit pension plan in the nation...After the members rejected a previous company offer in March, Costco and the Teamsters met to correct the areas that caused the rejection—the attainment of the pension plan in the East being the major area of concern. Costco agreed to allow the members in the East to decide by a separate vote as to whether they wanted to enter the pension plan. Based largely on this change, the California agreement was ratified overwhelmingly in May. The East Coast Teamsters ratified their contract in a vote count conducted yesterday... teamster.org
Talk of political power, global solidarity dominates at Convention June 29, 2016| Politics and policy were front and center on Monday, the first day of the Teamsters 39th International Convention, as thousands of Teamsters lauded the union’s support for a platform that calls for more infrastructure investment and election contributions by members while calling out lawmakers who would ship jobs overseas or hamper collective bargaining. Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa told attendees the last five years have been a time of success for the union. The second day focused on global solidarity and building worker power through organizing in key industries, and covered a number of priorities for workers, including organizing campaigns in freight, warehousing, the ports, Silicon Valley and more. Delegates also passed resolutions today on executive pay/Capital Strategies; freight organizing; warehouse organizing; and port organizing. Nominations took place for At Large Vice Presidents and Trustees... More at teamsters.org
Convention delegates join in show of solidarity, support June 30, 2016| Yesterday, Teamsters at the union's 29th International Convention united behind a Teamster family in Akron, Ohio, and pledged more than $1.4 million to help fund a drug treatment facility. The facility will honor the son of Local 24 President Travis Bornstein, who died of a prescription-drug overdose in 2014. (Learn more here.) Other business during the third day of the convention included the passage of a resolution in support of continuing work to protect the retirement security of Teamster members and retirees, and nominations for regional vice presidents. teamster.org
Corona, California US Foods Teamsters launch unfair labor strike
May 2, 2016| Yesterday, Teamsters who drive for US Foods in Corona began a ULP strike to protest allegations that the foodservice giant violated federal law that protects workers rights. Almost immediately, Corona workers extended their picket line to 10 other US Foods distribution centers and resident yards in Southern California and Phoenix, Arizona, where 750 Teamsters have ceased work to honor the picket lines… In all, more than 800 Teamsters employed by US Foods are currently not working because of the strike and extensions... teamster.org
Stand with CWA/IBEW strikers at Verizon May 5, 2016| On April 13, 2016, General President Jim Hoffa declared that the Teamsters stand united with the CWA and the IBEW’s strike against Verizon. Today he urges Teamster Local Unions and members to support our union brothers and sisters at Verizon. “It’s more important now than ever to show Teamster solidarity in standing up to corporate greed. We have our own battles with corporate giants like US Foods where multiple Teamster Local Unions are on Unfair Labor Practice strikes, and at a Supervalu-owned distributor that services Kroger stores in Colorado. By having a strong Teamster presence supporting CWA and IBEW and helping those unions win their battles, we will help our union win current and future battles against these corporate giants.” Sign the petition to “Stand with Striking Workers.”
Locals 355 and 570 extend picket lines to Ohio and New York May 9, 2016| We’ve extended our picket lines to US Foods in Twinsburg, Ohio (Cleveland), where our US Foods brothers at Local 507 are honoring the lines. US Foods workers, members of Local 264 in Buffalo, NY, began honoring our picket line Friday, May 6 at midnight. Thank you, Cleveland and Buffalo!
Local news station ABC Channel 2 report on US Foods ULP strike May 9, 2016| "They're talking about bringing the minimum wage up to $15, they'll be under the $15," said Neil Dixon, with Teamsters local 570 that represents the warehouse workers. "The company is trying to get 8.1 million dollars out of this deal in concessions. Those concessions are going to hurt our people."See the news video at abc2new.com
New contracts ratified at Toyota, Merchants Terminal May 12, 2016| A three-year contract was ratified April 30, 2016 by members employed at Toyota’s parts distribution center in Baltimore. The new agreement provides wage increases and members will move into the Local 570 defined benefit plan, significantly improving the benefits for members choosing to retire going forward. Engineers at Merchants Terminal ratified a new agreement in early April that provides significant wage increases, maintains Health & Welfare, and improved language related to company-paid training. Warehouse members at the company ratified a three-year contract in June 2015. More shop news in the upcoming issue of our newsletter, The 570 Express.
Locals 355 and 570 extend picket lines to Michigan and Illinois May 12, 2016| On Tuesday, picket lines were extended to a US Foods location in Wixcom, Mich., where unloaders and drivers, members of Local 337, are honoring our strike. And last night, some 40 Teamsters represented by Local 722 who work at the US Foods' distribution warehouse in Streator, Illinois, refused to cross the picket line in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Severn, Md. Thank you, Wixcom and Streator! #USFoodsStrike#Solidarity
Driving Up Standards: Hoffa, First Student members rally to mark 10th anniversary May 16, 2016| Today, General President Hoffa rallied with First Student drivers and monitors who transport students for Baltimore City Public Schools to celebrate a decade of the Teamsters Union's Drive Up Standards campaign. "This rally is to celebrate you," said Sean Cedenio, principle officer of Local 570. "Ten years ago today, this is where it all started." Assisted by Local 570 organizers, 150 workers in 2006 voted to become Teamsters. Unfortunately, the company wasn't yet ready to welcome unionized workers. The IBT has gone on to successfully organize more than 46,000 First Student workers nationwide, and in December 2014, First Student bus workers in Baltimore voted to join Local 570. "The company's attitude is a lot different today," said Denis Taylor, Teamsters Joint Council 62 president. "It is the contract that makes it work; it drives up the industry's standards. And you are the ones that make it all possible." "I believe in this union and I believe in you," said shop steward Kevin Shelton. "I believe together we can take this company to the top." "Together, Teamsters work to get a bigger piece of the pie," President Hoffa told the workers. "Think of yourselves as a team because it's only when we work together that we can get it done." More photos here.
Hoffa joins the picket lines in support of USF members May 16, 2016| General President Hoffa this afternoon met and walked the picket line with more than 50 Local 355 and 570 members who have been on the picket line for almost three weeks. He pledged the full support of the International for the strikers. "US Foods is attempting to pull these workers out of the middle class," he said in a press release. "Slashing pay as well as health and retirement benefits is no way to ensure that this formerly Maryland-based company remains a good corporate partner in the Free State." Baltimore Sun story here.
Teamsters to host strike update conference call with US Foods investors May 24, 2016| The IBT will host a conference call tomorrow to discuss the immediate and long-term impact of recent strike at US Foods' distribution warehouses across the country and the ongoing strike in Severn. "We are stunned US Foods management is asking investors for money in the midst of repeated and sustained work actions against the company," stated Steve Vairma, director of the Teamsters' Warehouse Division. "We are now entering or fourth week of work actions and they will continue until management meets us at the table with real, substantive proposals to renew or resolve contract disputes at 18 Teamster represented US Foods warehouses."
Teamsters at largest USF facility in US honor our picket lines May 24, 2016| We extended our picket lines to Metro New York (Perth Amboy; photos above), the largest US Foods facility in the country. Three hundred and twenty Teamster warehouse workers and drivers from Locals 202 and 282 have the right to honor the picket lines by refusing to work. Facebook.com/SyscoUSFworkers
USF members take their message to Camden Yards May 31, 2016| (Click image to enlarge.) Locals 355 and 570 distributed informational leaflets – Support our vets. Keep our jobs in Maryland – yesterday during the Memorial Day Baltimore Orioles game. "A war is being fought, and not between the Orioles and the Red Sox. It's being waged by US Foods on Baltimore workers." Local 570 warehouse worker, Chris Price, is a military veteran. "I fought for my country, and now I have to fight for my job from US Foods."
Baltimore Sun: US Foods to close Severn distribution center Apr. 6, 2016| Updated 4/7| US Foods said Wednesday that it would close a distribution center in Anne Arundel County in June, eliminating the last local footprint of a once-mighty Maryland company, after failing to reach an agreement on concessions with unionized workers at the facility ... US Foods wanted $8 million in annual concessions from the unions, including switching from pensions to a 401(k) and an average pay cut of $5.75 an hour for warehouse workers — demands that were too large, said Denis Taylor, president of Teamsters Local 355, one of two Teamsters locals that together represent about 180 workers in Severn. "There's no possibility that we could meet the company's demands," he said. "It's just not possible."... US Foods, like many large employers, is required by law to provide advance warning of major layoffs. The state has not received a formal notice, said a spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Continued
Maryland sick leave bill gains new momentum on final day of session Apr. 11, 2016| After being declared all but dead last week, a bill that would require bosses to grant sick leave to their employees picked up new momentum on the final day of the Maryland General Assembly session on Monday. A version of the bill already cleared the House of Delegates, but has remained bottled up in the Senate Finance Committee. baltimoresun.com
Local Unions recommend ratification of Costco tentative agreement Apr. 19, 2016| Teamster local unions on the East Coast and in California that represent 16,000 Costco members are recommending ratification of a new tentative agreement after members rejected an earlier proposal last month. The agreement has the full recommendation of the bargaining committee. Although the terms of the settlement cannot be disclosed until members are given the opportunity to ratify the offer, it does include for the first time the opportunity for East Coast Costco Teamsters to participate in the Western Conference of Teamsters Pension Trust Fund. Local 570 represents more than 900 members employed at Costco in Maryland. Learn more here…
US Foods Teamsters strike in Maryland Apr. 27, 2016| Update here. "On April 27, 2016 at 2pm, Teamster members of U.S. Foods in Severn, Md., walked off the job and commenced an unfair labor strike against the Company," according to a Teamsters Joint Council 62 press release issued today. "The dispute centers around the Company's failure to bargain in good faith, its use of out-of-state and non-bargaining-unit employees to perform work normally performed by the Teamsters, and the Company's attempt to deal directly with its employees concerning effects bargaining. US Foods employs approximately 190 Teamsters in both the warehouse and delivery operations." Stay tuned here for updates on Local 570 warehouse workers' fight for justice.
Nearly 200 Maryland Teamsters working for US Foods began an unfair labor practice strike today at the company’s Severn, Md. distribution center. Warehouse workers and drivers filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that US Foods has been bargaining in bad faith about its decision to close the Severn facility in June.
US Foods is the nation’s second-largest foodservice provider and is owned by Wall Street private equity behemoths KKR and CD&R. The 200 drivers and warehouse workers at the Severn facility are represented by Teamsters Locals 355 and 570.
“US Foods is legally required to bargain with its workers’ representatives about a possible decision to close the distribution center. Instead, the company announced that it would not bargain with us until workers agreed to concessions that would slash their compensation by more than 50 percent,” said Teamsters Local 355 President Denis Taylor.
“US Foods also started bringing in independent contractors this past weekend to move inventory out of state. Workers took action and went on a ULP strike today because US Foods left them with no other choice,” Taylor said.
Taylor continued, “It is outrageous that a formerly Maryland-based company is threatening to outsource hundreds of good, family-supporting jobs in Maryland to a low-road non-union facility in Virginia. In addition to the loss of jobs, this would cause the state and localities to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue annually. We are calling on US Foods to postpone the decision and sit down with workers, customers and public officials to find a way to keep good Maryland jobs in Maryland.”
Since its purchase by Wall Street private equity firms nine years ago, US Foods has engaged in a systematic campaign of harassment and intimidation against its workers, both union and non-union.
“US Foods is threatening to close our facility because we refuse to let the company slash our wages, abolish our retirement plan and destroy our quality, affordable family health care. They won’t even bargain with us about it in good faith,” said Joe Schwabline and Chris Price, driver and warehouse stewards at the Severn facility. “If we all stand together, we can stand up to US Foods and its Wall Street owners and stop their bullying.”
Steve Vairma, Teamsters International Vice President and Director of the Teamsters’ Warehouse Division, said, “US Foods has a pattern of being willing to destroy good jobs and local economies when it doesn’t get its way with workers. The company should be working with its employees and the community to come up with solutions to save these 200 jobs, instead of destroying the local consumer base that patronizes the local restaurants the company supplies.”
Vairma continued, “We are going to make sure local restaurants know exactly what US Foods is doing to the communities that patronize their businesses.”
US Foods earned $23 billion in annual revenue in 2014. The company provides 350,000 products and services to 200,000 customers including restaurants, hospitals, schools, military bases and hotels. US Foods has 25,000 employees and 75 distribution facilities. The Teamsters represent 4,100 US Foods employees, with 44 contracts at 29 facilities.
* Our striking brothers and sisters need your support on the picket line We invite all Teamsters Local 355 members to support our brothers and sisters fighting for their rights by walking the picket line along with them at the US Foods facility at 8024 Telegraph Rd., in Severn, Md. Bring your family and friends, your neighbors and coworkers. And if you can commit to some time on the line to give a US Foods Teamster a rest break, check in with a strike team leader to sign up for scheduled time slots. (Please note:Do not park at or near the facility. Parking is available at the Severn Run Bar & Grille at 7940 Telegraph Road. We have vans running regular pick-up and drop-off trips; wait times average between 5 and 10 minutes.)
Even if you can't donate time, contributions of food stuffs and goodies will be most appreciated. Members rotate shifts around the clock, seven days a week. We need them to keep up their energy! Thank you!
Teamsters apply heat to US Foods after failed Sysco merger
Mar. 4, 2016 | US Foods is coming under fire from its biggest union as it tries to go public following last year’s failed merger with Sysco. The Teamsters is pushing back against the company’s plan to close a distribution center near Baltimore, while union members at other centers are working without a contract. nypost.
Teamsters and others fight pension battle over the multi-employer fund Feb. 4, 2016| A half mile from their union hall, over 220 retired members of Teamsters Local 346 gathered at Holy Family Catholic Church in Duluth's West End in late January to fight for their pensions. But this isn't just a Teamsters fight. They're one of the unions under the knife now, but 200 multi-employer pension funds covering 1.5 million American workers could be in jeopardy for a number of reasons. peoplesworld.org
US Foods forces Phoenix Teamsters to launch unfair labor practice strike Feb. 5, 2016| Teamsters Local 104 members with US Foods took up unfair labor practice pickets yesterday, charging the nation’s second-largest foodservice provider with bargaining in bad faith and discriminating against its union workforce as they attempt to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. teamster.org
Call now and urge Congress to say NO to job-killing TPP Feb. 10, 2016| TLast week, trade ministers gathered in New Zealand to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But signing the TPP is not the same as it being ratified by Congress. This week, Teamsters from all of the country are flooding Congress with calls demanding they reject the massive trade deal. If we put enough pressure on our Congress members, the entire thing can still be derailed. That's where you come in: Please call the toll-free number 1-844-394-8431 now to join thousands of others urging Congress to oppose the TPP.
Cloverland Dairy members ratify new contract Feb. 12, 2016| Members employed at Cloverland Dairy packed into the Local Union Hall Super Bowl Sunday and voted by a 3-1 margin to accept a new 4-year collective bargaining agreement. The new contract, retroactive to Dec. 1, 2015, provides wage increases, maintains Health and Welfare benefits, and phases out a two-tier wage system, among other gains. The contract also adds recognition and coverage for laboratory workers. Local 570 represents 278 mechanics, production and distribution employees.
Hall: WV legislature sides with corporate interests over workers Feb. 16, 2016| In statement released last Friday following the West Virginia Legislature’s override of the governor’s veto of so-called right-to-work legislation, Secretary-Treasurer and Local 175 President Ken Hall said, “This is a dark day for our state. Lawmakers have chosen to side with out-of-state billionaires over hard-working West Virginians. The Teamsters, together with other union members and working West Virginians, turned out to strongly oppose these bills because we understood passing them would do nothing to help workers earn a fair living…” teamster.org West Virginia becomes the 26th RTW state on July 1, 2016.
‘Falls still kill far too many construction workers’ Feb. 22, 2016| “While we regularly work with employers, industry groups and worker organizations on preventing falls and saving lives, the National Safety Stand-Down encourages all employers – from small businesses to large companies operating at many job sites – to be part of our effort to ensure every worker makes it to the end of their shift safely,” said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. More than four million workers participated in the National Safety Stand-Downs in 2014 and 2015, and OSHA expects thousands of employers across the nation to join the 2016 event May 2-6, 2016. Related:Federal contractors with history of OSHA violations battle new safety rules. Download a copy of the Teamster Safety & Health Fact Sheet, “Contractors’ Safety and Health Responsibilities.”
Teamster mechanics picket, notify UA passengers of possible strikes Feb. 29, 2016| Hundreds of United Airlines mechanics picketed Friday at the San Francisco, Los Angeles (LAX), Newark, LaGuardia, Washington Dulles, Cleveland, Boston Logan and Orlando airports, to educate passengers about upcoming strikes. …The mechanics held picket signs that read, "ON STRIKE – Not Yet" and distributed leaflets to United's customers that read, "Passengers Brace for Summer Strike at UNITED"… teamster.org
L.A. port drivers win $7 million in back pay; end misclassification
Jan. 5, 2016 | The underpaid, exploited port truck drivers at the nation's largest cargo terminal, Los Angeles-Long Beach, have won another round in their long fight for fair pay and job protections.
Teamsters statement on San Bernardino County shootings
Dec. 3, 2015 | The Teamsters Union is deeply saddened by the tragic event in San Bernardino County, Calif., which has taken the lives of 14 people, injured 21 and shaken the community at large. As the news continues to unfold, we are saddened to learn that some of the victims were members of Teamsters Local 1932.
Congress needs to solve stagnant wages Nov. 3, 2015| The U.S. economic recovery is not what it seems. Yes, it is clear that the unemployment rate has fallen dramatically since the Great Recession ended. But the benefits that usually follow such a change, like wage hikes for everyday Americans, have been much harder to find. In fact, ow- and middle-income earners are struggling just to reach their salary levels before the recession… The Teamsters have been sticking up for workers on this issue for years, and renewed that push as part of our "Let's Get America Working" platform…. Continued.
Tell Congress to vote NO on the job-killing TPP Nov. 5, 2015| If the TPP is approved by Congress, this awful deal would offshore good-paying American jobs and lower wages in the jobs that are left, increasing inequality by forcing Americans into competition with workers paid less than 65 cents an hour. Put simply: it stinks. The just-released TPP text is actually worse than we imagined. Here are just a few examples of how the TPP will undercut jobs and wages.
The march to inequality: How did we get here? Nov. 10, 2015| This week Talking Points Memo launches an in-depth four-part series on the ever-pressing issue of today, wealth and income inequality. "The four pieces come from different authors, each coming from a different angle, with a different sort of expertise. The aim of the series is to pose a simple question: How did we get here?…" The first installment looks at the politics of the left and the decline of organized labor over half a century. The decline played a key role in the declining economic clout of working class and middle class Americans, but it is only part of the story…
21 organizations fighting for labor rights in the food system Nov. 19, 2015| … In Tracy, California, Teamsters members are fighting poverty wages and severe violations of basic rights at Taylor Farms. And more than 11,000 Teamsters workers have united to defeat a mega-merger of U.S. Foods and Sysco, which would have jeopardized thousands of broadline food service and transportation jobs… Read more here.
High court rulings could affect workers Nov. 20, 2015| The future of workers on the job could be shaped significantly by a spate of causes set to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court during its current term. And it is something more everyday Americans need to be aware of and consider. … The Teamsters represent about 273,000 public sector workers, and other union represent millions more. These government employees are everyday Americans just trying to earn a living and support their families. But that will be increasingly difficult if union rights are curtailed nationwide. Full story here.
Ford workers narrowly ratify UAW contract Nov. 23, 2015| Workers at Ford narrowly ratified the company’s four-year labor deal with the United Auto Workers, the labor union announced late Friday. A defeat for the contract could have left ford facing a strike for the first time in 39 years. The UAW had been looking to claw back some concessions that were made eight years ago to help the U.S. carmakers survive the recession. Industry Week
Taylor Farms recalls Costco salad linked to E. coli Nov. 30, 2015| Federal officials say a vegetable mix has been recalled after it was believed to be the source of E.coli in Costco chicken salad that has been linked to an outbreak that has sickened 19 people in seven states. Taylor Farms Pacific Inc. of Tracy, has recalled a mix of diced celery and onion used in Costco chicken salad… Costco says it uses one supplier for those vegetables in the chicken salad in all its U.S. stores. Continue reading…Note: Local 570 represents more than 900 Costco workers employed at four Maryland stores.
The just-released TPP text is actually worse than we imagined. Here are just a few examples of how the TPP will undercut jobs and wages.
• The TPP forces U.S. employers into competition with companies exploiting workers in places like Vietnam, where the minimum wage is just a third of what it is in China’s manufacturing centers, and Malaysia, where an estimated one-third of all electronics workers are victims of human trafficking.
• The TPP enables products assembled from parts made in “third party” countries that are not subject to any TPP obligations, such as China, to entire the U.S. duty-free, undercutting U.S. manufacturing.
• The TPP includes procurement provisions effectively barring Buy American and Buy Local government purchasing preferences.
• The TPP includes controversial investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) provisions that make it safer — and, in fact, create incentives — for U.S. firms to offshore jobs to foreign countries where they can exploit low-wage labor under privileged foreign investor status rather than be forced to deal with the countries’ regulator processes and courts.
• We also know that the TPP fails to include the currency safeguards demanded by a bipartisan majority in Congress that would prevent known currency manipulators like Vietnam, Japan and Malaysia from devaluing their currencies to gain an unfair trade advantage over U.S. employers.
Reminder: First Student National Contract ratification vote
Oct. 1, 2015 | The Teamsters reached a tentative agreement with First Student. The tentative agreement has been unanimously endorsed by the Teamsters First Student National Negotiating Committee (TFSNNC) and contains numerous improvements for First Student Teamsters and their families over the next five years.
The policy of the United States is "to protect the exercise by workers of full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of their own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of their employment or other mutual aid or protection." But current law effectively denies these fundamental rights to tens of millions of Americans.
As a result, we are falling behind our industrial competitors in many significant ways. Our real wages, once the highest in the world, have fallen below the levels of the early 1970s. Our manufacturing sector is in sharp decline, as large corporations move production facilities to underdeveloped countries to take advantage of exploitative wages and minimal environmental and safety standards.
The Workplace Democracy Act strengthens the federal laws designed to protect workers and close the legal loopholes which now deprive working people of their right to organize on behalf of their wages, their benefits and their working conditions. By amending the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and by establishing a National Public Employment Relations Commission, The Workplace Democracy Act provides a vehicle to achieve a comprehensive reform of American labor law.
Establishes card checkoff recognition. Once a majority of workers has declared its wish to be organized by conducting an election or by signing membership cards, legal recognition shall be given to their designated representative.
Guarantees the right to first contract. If by 45 days after certification, no collective bargaining agreement has been reached, the union then has the right to binding arbitration.
Strengthens and expands the enforcement authority of the National Labor Relations Board. Violations of labor law are violations of law, and must be both speedily prosecuted and remedied. Current penalties for violating the National Labor Relations Act are insufficient to serve as effective deterrents. The Workplace Democracy Act strengthens NLRB enforcement in the following ways:
Instructs the National Labor Relations Board to use its injunctive power whenever it finds an unfair labor practice.
Gives employees wronged due to such violations the right to be "made whole" for any economic losses they incur as a result.
Requires immediate reinstatement of discharged employees when unlawfully discharged.
Provides for treble (3x) back pay for employees who suffer economic hardship due to unfair labor practices.
Requires debarment of companies from Federal Government contracts for willful unfair labor practices.
Requires the National Labor Relations Board to assess civil penalties of not less than $10,000 against employers for each willful violation of the Act.
Repeals the prohibitions against strikes, boycotts and hot cargo agreements. Taft-Hartley provisions that prohibit one group of workers from engaging in actions in sympathy or concert with other groups of workers are eliminated, as well as the Landrum-Griffin Amendment that prohibits "hot cargo" agreements (when an employer and a union agree to refrain from handling any products of any other employer). The right to common situs picketing is thereby restored as well.
Prohibits state preemption of federal labor laws. Repeals Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act, concerning "right to work" laws. All workers shall enjoy the rights guaranteed them under federal law, regardless of where they live.
Secures equal treatment for all employees. Repeals the exclusion of plant guards from bargaining units with other employees where they work.
Ensures equal protection under the law for state and local public sector employees. Establishes the National Public Employment Relations Commission to ensure that public sector employees of states, territories, possessions or political subdivisions thereof, are guaranteed the right to collective bargaining, to binding arbitration, and to strike. Establishes a mandatory impasse procedure for public safety officers and fire fighters.
Provides workers the right to act as guarantors of their financial future. Provides for workers to serve as trustees on pension plans which cover their retirement.
Extends NLRA coverage to workers for U.S. owned companies that operate in Free Trade Agreement countries. Gives workers in countries that are party to a Free Trade Agreement with the United States the right to file unfair labor practice complaints against the United States owned parent company of their employer either under the NLRA or under the laws and procedures of that country.
Hoffa: New platform makes unions strong, America stronger
Sept. 2, 2015 | Today, more than 1.4 million members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are compensated for their skills and hard work with salaries and benefits that give them dignity and allow them to live a middle-class lifestyle. If this were true of more American workers, our economy and our country would be better off.
Teamsters, union coalition, reach tentative agreement with Red Cross Aug. 6, 2015| After several months of serious negotiations, the Teamsters, as part of a union coalition, have come to a tentative agreement for members working at America Red Cross. The agreement, once voted on by the membership, will impact more than 1,100 Teamsters at 18 different local unions, including Local 570. Details to come.
Teamsters take on Silicon Valley Aug. 17, 2015| Under the leadership of Joint Council 7 President Rome Aloise, the Teamsters are on the front lines in the fight against income inequality in Silicon Valley [California]. Full story...
Teamsters applaud NLRB on joint employer ruling Aug. 27, 2015| Our Union today applauded the National Labor Relations Board on its “joint employer” ruling in the case of Browning-Ferris Industries, Inc., as an additional step to protect and provide a voice to millions of American workers by holding employers that rely on temporary or contracted workers accountable. The ruling resulted from a 2013 case brought by Teamsters Local 350 in Daly City, Calif., against Browning-Ferris, a waste management company that is owned by Republic Services—the second-largest waste services company in the U.S. The union maintained that Republic had control over wage and working conditions for its workers employed through Leadpoint Services, a staffing agency, and counted as a joint employer with that agency. Full story…
In December 2014, First Student school bus workers who transport children attending Baltimore City Public Schools, voted to join Local 570. During the organizing campaign, stagnating wages were the major issue for the workers. School bus monitor Donna Jackson said she had worked at First Student for two years and needed to see better wages, paid vacation, and sick time for the workers. "We needed the opportunity to fight for these things," she said after the election.
A proposal meeting held at the Local Union hall February 14, 2015, gave the newly organized workers an opportunity to learn the benefits of union membership. Secretary-Treasurer and Principle Officer Sean Cedenio reviewed provisions of the National Agreement – section by section – and provided answers to the workers’ numerous questions.
The review of the National Agreement helped workers discuss and define goals that helped formulate the union’s proposals for their local supplemental agreement.
“We can’t artificially inflate proposals that we can’t achieve but our goal is that when we reach a tentative agreement, we’ll know we did the very best we can do so you can say yes when it comes time for you to vote on your supplement,” explained Cedenio, the the Union's chief negotiator. Other bargaining committee members included Trustee and Organizer Moses Jackson, (pictured at right) First Student drivers Gary Hinton, Michael Dews, and First Student monitor Donna Jackson.
In May and June when negotiations became difficult, First Student workers stood united in their message to the Company that they wanted a fair deal. "We deserve better," said driver Valerie Tapsoda.
In addition to improved wages, the new contract provides minimum pay guarantees for a.m. and p.m. work, and pay rate increases for non-revenue work.
Hoffa: A blueprint for getting America back on track July 6, 2015| The American economy is not working. As the Teamsters have stated repeatedly, there needs to be a commitment to boost and expand America's middle class, which is the lifeblood of our country. But that alone will not fuel a national renaissance that will raise up a majority of people. There needs to be a buy-in from the business community that puts long-term economic health before short-term profits. The Roosevelt Institute, of which I am a board member, recently released a detailed blueprint called "Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy" authored by its renowned chief economist Joseph Stiglitz in an effort to tame income inequality. To put this nation back on track, the document makes clear that the U.S. must rethink the economic assumptions it's made during the past 35 years. Continue reading...
Rest in peace, Brother Matthew P. Shonko July 7, 2015| We are saddened to announce the sudden passing of our Teamster brother, Matt Shonko (Leonard Paper). The Local 570 executive board and members extend our sincere condolences to his family, friends and coworkers. Visiting hours will be held at the Connelly Funeral Home of Essex, 300 Mace Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21221, 3 pm - 5pm, and 7pm – 9pm, Friday, July 10, 2015. A Catholic prayer service will be held at the funeral home at 10 a.m, Saturday, July 11, 2015.
What's next for US Foods? July 7, 2015| Now comes the hard part for US Foods. Sysco's $3.5 billion proposal collapsed on June 30 after a federal judge ruled against the deal on anti-competitive concerns, leaving both companies back where they were in late 2013 – as fierce head-to-head competitors, each seeking to char a new path for future growth. Full story...
Baltimore workers ratify Teamster contract with First Student, Inc. July 27, 2015| After months of tense negotiations, drivers and monitors employed at the Baltimore and Severn locations of First Student voted July 18th to accept a three-year supplemental contract to the Teamsters First Student National Master Agreement. The contract provides significant increases for all wage classifications. Continued...
Here's 7 reasons not-yet-union folks should join one July 29, 2015| We know that our union jobs generally pay significantly more than non-union jobs and our negotiated contracts provide benefits like paid vacation, holidays and sick days that many non-union workers don't get. So how about that non-union worker friend of yours who doesn't get that being a member of a union can greatly improve his/her work life? This short and to-the-point article can help you talk with family members and friends who may be on the fence about joining a union.
Teamsters remember James R. Hoffa on 40th anniversary of disappearance July 30, 2015| Today marks the 40th anniversary of the disappearance of one of the greatest labor leaders in American history – James R. Hoffa. As Teamsters General President, Hoffa honed his well-earned reputation as a tough and effective bargainer and gained the respect of labor and business leaders alike across the country. He worked hard to expand the number of working men and women who were protected by union contracts and under his leadership, the union’s membership rose to include more than 2 million workers. Continued…
Teamsters! This really IS the time for action June 3, 2015| The public is starting to pay more attention to the negotiated-in-secret TPP deal and what its passage will mean for the nation. Fast Track proponents are trying to move quickly, pushing to bring the legislation for the job-killing TPP to a vote in the house. Granting a Fast Track rubber-stamp for the TPP would only accelerate a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions that nobody wins – except, of course, for big transnational corporations that are eager to exploit labor abuses abroad to pad their obscene profits. But we can win this fight. Literally thousands of organizations – representing the environmental, family farm, civil rights, consumer, LGBT, student and other movements – have united with labor in saying NO to Fast Track. We need your voice, too. Make the call to your Representative now at 888-979-9806 and urge them to vote NO on Fast Track. Then send an email too.
Hoffa: TAA will offer little help to workers hit hard by trade June 10, 2015| For years, the Teamsters have been strong supporters of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) legislative efforts that have offered support to thousands of workers who have lost jobs due to bad trade deals. But not this time…
Hoffa: Overworking truckers is dangerous June 10, 2015| Highways across Michigan and the U.S. have become increasingly dangerous for motorists. And that will only get worse if Congress approves a transportation spending bill that effectively keeps the suspension of rules in place that allow truck driver to work longer hours, that permits larger double-trailers and that prevents the U.S. Department of Transportation from raising minimum insurance standards that have been frozen on place for three decades. The fate of those provisions, tucked inside a $55 billion federal transportation spending bill, is now being considered on Capitol Hill. Full story…
Former Sparrows Point steelworker speaks out on impact of failed trade policies June 11, 2015| This new ad from the AFL-CIO and USW highlights how the loss of manufacturing jobs due to bad trade policies has hit manufacturing workers like former Sparrows Point craneworker, Mike Lewis, especially hard.
Hoffa applauds trade package vote but warns fight isn't over yet June 15, 2015| In a press release issued last week, General President Hoffa said that in rejecting the Trade Adjustment Assistance portion of the trade package, "a resounding bipartisan majority of lawmakers agreed that workers don't want to be retrained for a new career – they want to keep the good middle-class jobs they have now." However, the battle didn't end Friday. "The Teamsters and others who stand with American families must remain resolute. Corporate cronies are likely to try to get TAA and fast track through the house again" this week. Workers voices' need to continue to be heard on Capitol Hill. Read more at teamster.org. Related: Liberals deal Obama a stunning blow on trade -- but one more showdown awaits.
Republican states seek to repeal prevailing wage laws June 16, 2015| Expanding their battle with organized labor, Republican lawmakers in the Midwest are moving to scrap labor laws that help unions win a healthy share of the jobs on public works projects and bolster trade union membership. Conservative legislators are targeting "prevailing wage" statutes, now on the books in 31 states [including Maryland], that require paying the local wage and benefit rate –usually union scale– on government construction projects such as building local roads… Full story.
Teamsters endorse pension protection bill June 18, 2015| The IBT issued its support today for new legislation that will protect earned pension benefits for retirees and boost multi-employer pension plans for workers and participating employers.The “Keep our Pension Promises Act,” sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), will roll back provisions slipped into the fiscal 2015 spending bill approved by Congress last year that made earned pensions benefits vulnerable to cuts. The measure would restore anti-cutback rules so that recipients in financially troubled multi-employer pension plans will be protected from having their benefits cut. Continued…
U.S. judge grants FTC request to block merger with US Foods June 24, 2015| Sysco Corp’s $3.5 billion merger with US Foods should be stopped for further review, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, handing a major victory to the U.S. government in its effort to block the controversial merger. The judge’s decision could ultimately kill the deal between the two largest U.S. food distributors since the further review requested by the Federal Trade Commission is a lengthy process, and deals generally cannot be held together during a full trial. Continue reading…Today's Baltimore Sun story...
Sysco Walks Away From US Foods Merger June 29, 2015| Sysco Corp. said Monday it is walking away from its planned acquisition of US Foods Inc. after a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the deal last week amid antitrust concerns. Sysco said it will pay US Foods a breakup fee of $300 million. The termination also cancels Sysco and US Food’s agreement to sell 11 distribution centers to Performance Food Group, Inc. Full story …
Food distributors are trying to convince judge to let them form a monopoly May 5, 2015| After years of acquiring smaller competitors, US Foods and Sysco, Inc. are the last two large companies in the food distribution industry. The government, AAI, Food and Water Watch, and the Teamsters union all argue that the companies already control the market, and would represent a monopoly if merged. The court hearing begins today. Full story...
At Unity, Teamsters look ahead to a bright future May 11, 2015| Some 1,600 Teamsters brothers and sisters from across North America gathered together Sunday as part of the 12th annual Unity Conference to share their success stories and speak truth to power about the increasingly perilous state of workers across the continent. Follow the day reports and photos here.
US Foods will kill Sysco deal if court delays merger, exec says May 12, 2015| A US Foods executive said in federal court today that his company would walk away from its planned merger with Sysco if the presiding judge issues an injunction to preliminarily block the deal. David Schreibman, an executive VP at US Foods, told the judge that his company is not willing to endure a protracted legal fight with U.S. antitrust enforcers. Full story...
Senate success against fast track push!* May 13, 2015| Senate Democrats took a stand today against efforts to ram fast track trade authority through the chamber, denying an effort to move forward with consideration of the legislation. The vote further delays big business' desire to pass fast track and raises serious doubts about the future of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Full story... * May 15: “A simple up-or-down vote on a trade deal of this magnitude is not in the best interest of middle class Americans. They have seen firsthand the real impact of unfair, unbalanced trade agreements over the past 20 years. I call on every member of Congress to vote down fast track and do their part to protect our country from another bad trade agreement." President Hoffa's full statement..
Sysco overstating benefits of merger, gov’t witness says May 15, 2015| "… Sysco originally told investors that it would save $600 million through merging the two companies, which it would then pass on to consumers. Mr. Gokhale argued that a large part of Sysco's claimed "merger efficiencies" were not merger-specific, meaning that they were either happening or going to happen without the merger. As an example, he spoke at length about how Sysco expected to save money through "category management" following the merger, but both Sysco and US Foods had been doing this prior to the merger." Full story… Additional info on the FTC trial at Protecting Sysco & US Foods Workers on Facebook.
Terminal Corp. members ratify 'best contract in 32 years' May 21, 2015| A new 4-year agreement was unanimously approved today by warehousemen employed at Terminal Corporation, Halethorpe, Md. "This is the best contract I've seen in my 32 years with this company," said Joe Holeman following an overview of the tentative agreement. Contract highlights include a generous wage increase over the term of the agreement, an increase to the pension plan during each year of the agreement, maintenance of Health & Welfare, and an additional personal day. The tentative agreement (TA) was recommended by chief shop steward Mike Hanline and Local 570 Vice President Rich Brown. "I'm very, very proud of what we accomplished with this contract," Brown told the workers after the vote was tallied. Local 570 has held a contract with Terminal for almost 50 years and is among the earliest contracts negotiated by Teamsters 570.
Fast Track vote in Senate may happen today May 22, 2015| Yesterday the Senate voted to end debate, meaning that a final vote could take place today. We cannot let up in the fight against Fast Track. Please send another email to your Senators right now to ask that they oppose Fast Track when it comes up for a final vote.
Memorial Day magazine preview: Teamsters Military Assistance Program May 25, 2015| This Memorial Day, as we honor the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, we are paying tribute to our Teamster military heroes and the Teamsters Military Assistance Program (TMAP). Learn more...
Local 570 to welcome Local 311 following merger approval Mar. 30, 2015| At a special meeting held Sunday, March 29, 2015, Teamsters Local 311 members approved their executive board's recommendation to merge with Teamsters Local 570. The Local's decision to seek a merger partner in Local 570 was not driven by financial need but rather a long-held commitment to building Teamster strength and power by increasing membership numbers. “We are being proactive,” Local 311 Principle Officer Neil Dixon, told his members. “And together with 570, we’ll be more than 3,400 Teamsters strong." Local 570 Principle Officer Sean Cedenio and members of LU 570’s executive board attended Local 311's meeting. In his comments Cedenio said,“Our strength is always in our numbers. With this merger we will continue to build our union and, together, we will continue to build our power.” Full story…Photo: Local Union leaders Neil Dixon and Sean Cedenio shake hands following the Local 311 merger vote.
Teamsters applaud veto of Senate resolution blocking NLRB rule Apr. 1, 2015| The Teamsters applauded President Obama's decision to veto a resolution backed by Congressional Republicans that would have blocked the National Labor Relations Board's rules designed to speed up the time it takes to unionize workers. The NLRB rule is scheduled to go into effect April 15, 2015. A description of the new rule and its reforms can be found here.
Baltimore could become the next Detroit. Seriously? Apr. 1, 2015| This isn’t exactly local union news but it IS news we want to alert you to because it’s bad news for hard-working people who rent in Baltimore. Think Progressreported Saturday that starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings. City officials claim that residents using water without paying are to blame for the $40 million in overdue water bills. But the Baltimore Sun found that more than a third of those unpaid bills stem from just 369 businesses. (“Last year in Detroit, residents fought back against a similar plan to shut off water to customers with overdue bills.”) About half of Baltimore’s residents rent their homes, and most count on the property owners to pay the water bill. So why is this important? Central to this looming crisis is an issue of Human Rights.
Horseshoe Baltimore Casino workers bet on union Apr. 8, 2015| The Horseshoe Baltimore Casino is now officially union. The cards were counted last week and a strong majority of Horseshoe workers voted in favor of representation by the National Gaming Workers Coalition, comprised of Unite Here Local 7, Teamsters Local 355, Operating Engineers Local 37 and the UAW. The Horseshoe has recognized the union and dates will soon be set for negotiations on wages, benefits and working conditions.
Failed fast track is nearly upon us – again Apr. 13, 2015| Despite the Teamsters and our allies making clear that U.S. residents will be hurt if fast track can be used to quickly push secret trade deals like the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress, some lawmakers had decided to side with big business instead. But unfortunately, the fight doesn't end there. [The TPP Fast Track bill will be introduced in the Senate Tuesday.] This union and others who care about hard-working Americans are gearing up for a fight, and will need everyone who can to join in. Read on… [The TPP will outsource jobs, undercut workers' rights, dismantle labor, environmental, health, food safety, and financial laws, and allow corporations to challenge our laws in international tribunals rather than our own court system.]
Teamsters take stand against fast track Apr. 16, 2015| The Teamsters joined some 1,200 fellow union members and far trade advocates at a Capitol Hill rally yesterday to call on Congress to stop pushing for fast track trade promotion authority that would allow a quick up-or-down vote on bad trade deals like the TPP… Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, called on workers to head to the halls of Congress and let their members know their thoughts on fast track: "You make sure you tell them you put them there and you can take them of of there!" Full story...
Breaking news: Fast Track legislation introduced in Congress today Apr. 16, 2015| The fast track bill hit Congress today and we need your help to stop it. This bill will put good Teamster jobs in jeopardy. The TPP, the "NAFTA of the Pacific," will mean even more jobs sent overseas, lower wages for the jobs that remain, unsafe food and possibly a ban on our "Buy American" procurement laws and regulations. If Fast Track becomes law, however, Congress won't be able to change a single provision of the agreement. Please email your Representative and Senators right now and ask that they oppose Fast Track if it's brought up for a vote. The Teamsters Union has stopped Fast Track before. With your help, we will stop it again.
Every Monday: New information for members and stewards Apr. 20, 2015| Members, do you know what a contract campaign is? Or why it's important to file a grievance in a timely manner? Stewards, need a refresher on your rights as a shop steward? When past practice is relevant? Worried about confidentiality issues? Every Monday we provide answers to those questions and more with tips to help you learn more about your role in the Local Union. Available under Members Resources - Inside Wire: Tips for Members and Weekly Steward Tip. (Note: Forgot your password? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.)
Today is Worker’s Memorial Day: ‘Speak Out for Safe Jobs’ Apr. 28, 2015| The Teamsters Union, and trade journalists around the world, recognize April 28 as Workers’ Memorial Day – and international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured or made ill by their work. To help mark this important day, our union has provided background information on this day of remembrance and these resources to help you start a conversation with coworkers or plan activities in your workplaces.
Executive board members of Local 311 and Local 570 following the merger vote. (L-R) LU 570 Vice President Richard Brown, LU 570 Organizer and Trustee Moses Jackson, LU 311 President Penelope Arhar, LU 311 Secretary-Treasurer/Principle Officer Neil Dixon, LU 570 Secretary-Treasurer/Principle Officer Sean Cedenio, LU 311Trustee Donna Carr, LU 570 President Ray Valentine, and LU 311 Recording Secretary Joe Fowler.
Local 311 members overwhelmingly approve merger
March 30, 2015 | At a special meeting held Sunday, March 29, 2015, Teamsters Local 311 members approved an executive board proposal to merge into Teamsters Local 570, also in Baltimore.
The decision to seek a merger partner was not driven by financial need but rather from a long-held commitment to building our Teamster membership to ensure our strength and power, Principle Officer Neil Dixon told his members
“We are being proactive,” Dixon told members. “Together with 570, we’ll be more than 3,400 Teamsters strong. Yes, we have the funds to continue on alone but we’ve lost members in recent years and when a Local loses members, it loses some of its strength. This is really all about building our strength by increasing our numbers. We’ll increase our charter, increase Local 570s’ charter and this merger will give us wider opportunities to organize and grow our union which will help build our power.”
Merger discussions began a year ago between the Locals’ principle officers. Unlike other local union mergers that come about due to financial pressures, Local 311 is financially sound. But in the years since the Great Recession began in 2007, Local 311 has experienced a decrease in its membership, either as a result of Local 311 companies who close or changes in the industries employes by Local 311 members.
Local 570 Principle Officer Sean Cedenio and members of LU 570’s executive board attended the meeting. In his comments, Cedenio said, “Our strength is always in our numbers. When our numbers decline, we become weaker. And if we don’t organize, we die. With an organizer on staff, Local 570 is building its membership. With this merger we will continue to build our union and together, we will build our power.”
A secret ballot was conducted after the Q & A session during which members asked questions on a variety of issues, including how the health & welfare and pension plans will be administered going forward, seniority (by industry), the time frame for the merger’s completion, and what the integration of the locals’ executive boards will look like.
“This is a historic move that will increase the Locals’ stability,” said Dixon after the vote. “Mergers like this are the wave of the future. You know that companies do it every day. Well, we need to merge too. I’ve thought about this merger for months and I can’t think of anything that’s not good about it. Because the truth is, it’s all about representing our members. And that is what we are all about.”
Senate to vote today to undo labor union rule *
Mar. 4, 2015 | The Senate will vote Wednesday on a GOP-backed motion that would undo a controversial National Labor Relations Board rule that makes it easier for workers to hold union elections.
In 2007, the first Teamster organizing campaign for First Student workers anywhere in the nation happened right here in Baltimore. Assisted by Local 570 organizers, 150 workers voted to become Teamsters and members of Local 570. Unfortunately, the company wasn’t yet ready to welcome unionized workers.
Sysco offers to sell 11 facilities to win merger approval *
Feb. 2, 2015 | Sysco said on Monday that it had agreed to divest 11 distribution centers in a bid to obtain the blessing of regulators including the Federal Trade Commission. Sysco will sell the centers for an undisclosed sum to Performance Food Group, which will be its nearest rival after the deal for US Foods closes. Full story here.
No. There are no immediate cuts to any pensions.
Jan. 5, 2015 | The IBT has compiled a list of frequently asked questions about how the omnibus spending bill could affect you and your family. The big question: “Will my pension check be reduced?” Answer: No. The legislation does not mandate pension cuts.
Anti-union grocer slashes benefits, pensions for 1,100 Pa. Teamsters Dec. 4, 2014| In a new version of the old ploy of manipulating federal bankruptcy courts to bludgeon unions into economic concessions or givebacks, the nation's largest grocery wholesaler used sped-up court procedures to make a quick buy of one of its regional competitors last month – and, in the process, slash the pensions and benefits of 1,100 truck drivers and warehouse workers. Full story here.
Teamsters at Castle Oil about to lose their jobs - Help save them! Dec. 5, 2014| Teamster drivers and mechanics for many years kept New York warm delivering fuel from the Bronx for Castle Oil. Now, just before Christmas, they’re about to be thrown out into the cold. Corporate giant Sprague Energy is buying Castle Oil, and 50 members of Teamsters Local 553 are losing their jobs in the process. They’ll be replaced by non-union, low-wage contract jobs. You can help: Please take a minute to sign this petition, urging Sprague Energy’s CEO David Glendon to keep these good, middle-class jobs in New York. Your support will be greatly appreciated by the 50 Teamsters at Castle Oil who fear a bleak Christmas.
Teamsters take a stand against unfair TPP, Fast Track Dec. 9, 2014| The Teamsters joined hundreds of labor and fair-trade activists yesterday in calling on the U.S. government not to move forward with the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or fast-track trade promotion authority that would speed its consideration… "The voices of millions of working, middle-class Americans cannot be ignored," said General President Jim Hoffa. "They are tired of being the casualties of bad trade deals that send good-paying jobs overseas. The Teamsters Union will continue the fight against Fast Track authorization and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – American workers cannot pay the price of another bad trade deal." Full story and photos here.
Report: Sysco poised to complete $8.2B merger with US Foods Dec. 11, 2014| The New York Post reported today "…Sysco is selling assets worth $5 billion to Performance Food Group to win regulatory approval, two sources said. That is equal to roughly one-quarter of US Food's revenue…" Full story here.
Teamsters denounce Senate passage of Omnibus Spending Bill Dec. 11, 2014| “With the passage of the omnibus spending bill by the Senate, we have witnessed the latest attack by corporate interests on working families, " said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in response to the Senate's passage of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. “Big business and Wall Street have bought and paid for influence and access that has allowed them to continue to enrich corporations at the expense of the middle class... We can only hope that President Obama rethinks his present course of action, recognizes the destructive nature of the provisions in this bill and vetoes it when it reaches his desk.” Full statement here.
Call your senator NOW! Dec. 12, 2014| Tell them to vote NO on the Cloture and NO! on the Omnibus to protect Teamster pensions and jobs. Call 888-979-9806 to be connected to your senator. The Teamsters Union is opposed to the Omnibus Spending Bill. It keeps government open on the backs of hardworking Americans and retirees. Click here to learn what the legislation would do, then call your senator at 888-979-9806. Do it right now.
What the CRomnibus Law means for multiemployer pension plans Dec. 16, 2014| … The law states that plans in”critical and declining status” can temporarily or permanently suspend current and future benefits. This suspension can include benefits already accrued for vested participants and benefits already being paid to retirees and beneficiaries…The law sets limits. For example, the monthly benefit of any participant or beneficiary may not fall below 100% of the PBGC’s guaranteed monthly benefit. Participants and beneficiaries aged 75 and older are afforded special protections, as are those with benefits based on disability. Full story here.Related: Those pension cuts and what you need to know.
Take two and call me in the morning Dec. 24, 2014| “The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is reminding all employers and workers of the importance of maintaining a healthy, influenza-free workplace this season and throughout the New Year. Check out the Department of Labor's 7 simple ways you can help prevent seasonal flu in your workplace.
Local 570 welcomes First Student school bus workers Dec. 29, 2014| First Student school bus drivers and monitors who transport children attending Baltimore City Public Schools have voted to join Teamsters Local 570 in Baltimore. The 113 school bus workers work out of First Student yards in Baltimore and Severn, Md., and joined the union seeking respect, fair pay and dignity at work. “We’re pleased to welcome these hardworking school bus drivers and monitors to the Teamsters. We look forward to working hard to represent their interests on the job,” said Sean Cedenio, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 570. Full press release here.
Dec. 16, 2014 | AARP | Congress recently carved a hole in a 40-year-old pension law that has prevented employers from cutting benefits earned by those already retired. This change applies to people covered under multiemployer plans that are in critical financial shape.
Here’s what you need to know:
What is a multiemployer plan? This is a pension covering workers and retirees from more than one employer in the same or related industry, such as trucking or construction. (Most of them were established under collective bargaining between a union and the employers.) There are about 1,400 multiemployer plans with 10.4 million participants. Most workers with traditional pensions are in a single-employer plan, meaning it covers workers from only one employer.
Why are lawmakers doing this? The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures these pensions, says that some 10 percent of multiemployer plans – covering about 1.5 million people – are in such financial trouble that they are likely to become insolvent. PBGC estimated that its fund insuring multiemployer plans will likely run out of money in eight to 10 years unless changes are made. Some lawmakers argued that these distressed plans need the ability to cut retirees’ benefits so pensions can survive longer.
AARP and other consumer advocates argue that these pensions aren’t in immediate danger of insolvency so there is no need to rush this drastic measure without considering alternatives, such as scaling back on optional benefits in a plan or providing PBGC with greater funds and the authority to intervene earlier. Advocates also worry this move by lawmakers might someday open the door to similar pension cuts to other plans.
How do I know if my pension is in financial trouble? Under a 2006 pension law, plans are required to notify participants if they are significantly underfunded. The U.S. Department of Labor also posts a list online of plans whose status is considered “critical” or “endangered.”
Will everyone in a distressed plan experience cuts? It’s up to plan trustees to decide how much to cut benefits, though the legislation offers certain restrictions. For instance, benefits cannot be cut for retirees age 80 and older or those receiving a disability pension. And those under age 75 would see bigger cuts than retirees at ages 75 to 79, whose benefits could be slashed but not as much.
How big are the cuts? Some retirees could see their benefits cut by more than 60 percent. The Pension Rights Center, an advocacy group, provides an online calculator to figure any potential benefit loss under the legislation for those under age 75.
Do retirees or workers get any say in these cuts? Participants will get to vote on any proposed pension cuts. Yet as the Pension Rights Center points out, this right is “illusory.” A majority of all participants – all employees and retirees, not just those voting – must reject the cuts, the group says. And ballots can be sent via email, a hurdle for those without Internet access. Yet even if participants overwhelmingly reject cuts, their vote can be simply set aside if the troubled plan may jeopardize the financial health of the PBGC, the group says.
When will this take effect? The pension provisions take effect beginning in 2015.
The ballot box is the great equalizer for workers Nov. 3, 2014| American workers are facing significant challenges. Whether it's low pay, a system that favors corporation over citizens, a gender wage gap, the effects of unfair trade or a voting system that hampers the most disadvantaged among us, these problems are real. But will those most affected the most bother to do something about it? The public has heard it before, and they will hear it again from me as well – vote. But are people going to do it? Continue reading General President Hoffa here.
A first contract is in place at Rhee Bros., and other news Nov. 10, 2014| On Saturday, Oct. 18th, warehouse workers at Hanover, Md.-based foods distributor Rhee Bros. ratified their first contract since organizing with the Teamsters in December 2013. Members attending the October general membership meeting unanimously returned all Local 570 leaders to office for the January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2017 term. More news here.
Hoffa's message to Teamster active duty military and veterans Nov. 11, 2014| "For more than a century – from World Wars I and II to Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Golf and, most recently, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – the Teamsters have proudly welcomed our fighting men and women home and back to work. And on this Veteran's Day, the Teamsters Union wants all of our veterans to know how thankful we are for their service to our nation..." Continue reading here.
Sysco And US Foods Teamsters protest shareholders meeting Nov. 19, 2014| Teamsters employed at Sysco and US Foods protested outside Sysco’s shareholders meeting today to demand answers to tough questions from the company’s Board of Directors about its proposed purchase of US Foods and the impact on thousands of jobs. “Thousands of workers at Sysco and US Foods are concerned about their livelihoods, but all Sysco will say is that employees will become Sysco associates Day One if the merger is approved by the federal government,” said Ken Hall, International Brotherhood of Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer. Continue reading here.
Facebook bus drivers vote to join Teamsters Nov. 21, 2014| Contract shuttle drivers who serve Facebook’s employees voted 43-28 Wednesday to joint the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, marking a victory in Silicon Valley for one of America’s largest unions. Of the 87 shuttle-bus drivers who work for Loop Transportations, 43 voted in favor of representation by Teamsters Local 853…Continue reading here.
This Black Friday, will you stand with striking Walmart workers? Nov. 26, 2014| Walmart’s owners, the Walton heirs, have more wealth than 42 percent of the United States. Yet Walmart employees aren’t able to afford to feed their families. Just recently in Oklahoma, a Walmart store actually put out a food bin to collect canned goods for its hungry employees. Walmart workers deserve better treatment than this. They want a raise, not charity. So this Black Friday, there will be protests at 1,600 stores across the country to show solidarity. It’s simple to join their protests: Go to BlackFridayProtests.org to find an action near you. Bring a sign and your cellphone, and take a selfie. Post it on your Facebook page or send it to the Facebook page of the Walmart workers organization, Organization United for Respect at Walmart (Our Walmart).
On Saturday, Oct. 18th, warehouse workers at Hanover, Md.-based foods distributor Rhee Bros. ratified their first contract since organizing with the Teamsters in December 2013. The three-year agreement provides wage increases/bonuses, implementation of a wage progression scale, health insurance percentages locked in for the term of the agreement. In addition, workers are guaranteed a 40-hour work week, a grievance and arbitration process, and current vacations and holidays are protected.
Wage negotiations on behalf of United Care Connections (UC2) drivers and day-center aides produced wage increases and signing bonuses effective January 1, 2015.
Negotiations with Leonard Paper began Thursday, Oct. 16th.
Bargaining continues with Bond Distributing and Stroehmanns.
In other news, members present at the Union's monthly General Membership Meeting held Sunday, October 12th, unanimously returned all Local 570 leaders to office for the January 1, 2015 - December 31, 2017 term. The following members were declared elected officers of Teamsters Local 570: Ray Valentine, President Richard Brown, Vice President Sean Cedenio, Secretary Treasurer/Principle Officer Robert Brown, Recording Secretary Moses Jackson, Angelo Wilson, and Christopher Price, Trustees
Beginning Oct. 1: Tow trucks included in Maryland's 'move over' law Oct. 1, 2014| Motorists will be required by law to move over for tow trucks starting Oct. 1, according to Maryland State Police. The law is intended to provide an extra barrier of safety for police, fire and emergency rescue personnel, and now tow truck drivers, police said… Violation of the "move over" law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point added to a driver's license. Read more here.
Election should be about letting all eligible voters vote Oct. 3, 2014| In the first of five in-depth blog posts leading up to the Nov. 4 election that will examine the issues of importance not only to Teamsters, but all workers, Teamster Power writes: "How do you know that Election Day is right around the corner? Because anti-worker forces in key swing states are trying to tamp down on who can and cannot vote." Worth your time to read it here.
Facebook's bus drivers seek union Oct. 6, 2014| They shuttle highly paid Facebook employees to and from the company's headquarters in Silicon Valley, yet many say their pay is so low that they can't afford to live in the area. Moreover, many complain that they start work around 6 a.m. and do not finish until 9 p.m., 15 hours later. Now, some of these shuttle bus drivers, who get Facebook employees to work are seeking representation by the Teamsters union. Learn more here.
There's nothing fair about being a woman in the workplace Oct. 7, 2014| In the second of five in-depth blog posts leading up to the Nov. 4 election, Teamster Power writes: It may be the 21st century, but for too many working women it might as well be the Dark Ages. Their wages continue to lag significantly behind their male counterparts. And congressional efforts to change it have been hampered repeatedly by Senate Republicans. The latest rebuffing of wage equity came last month, when the GOP halted an effort to move forward with the Paycheck Fairness Act…" Worth your time to read it here.
Are you a veteran? The Teamster History Project wants your photo. Oct. 8, 2014| The Teamsters History Project is currently working on a new book for the Teamsters History book series about Teamsters in Military Service and is looking for photos of Teamsters who served in the military at any time during the last 110 years of our history. If you'd like to submit photos of you and/or Teamster relatives who have served in any of the conflicts during that time, you will find additional information and instructions for photo submission here.
Fight against the War on Workers by voting Oct. 13, 2014| Show how you're fighting the War on Workers by printing out the "I'm a Teamster and I Vote" sign, hold it up and take a selfie for the Teamster Facebook page. Click here to get your sign.
Teamsters’ teach-in spotlights environmental injustice at hazardous landfill Oct. 14, 2014| …Speakers at the session, hosted by Teamsters Joint Council 13, emphasized that 1,600 Teamsters and tens of thousands of other workers live within a short radius of the Republic Service toxic landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri. The landfill contains 8,700 tons of un-containerized radioactive waste… The teach-in made clear that unionists, community residents, faith leaders, environmentalists and pro-worker attorneys were going to be anything but invisible. Read the full story here.
Private sector privileges cost regular workers Oct. 16, 2014| …In the third of five in-depth blog posts leading up to the Nov. 4 elections, Teamster Power writes: “The U.S. has a population of more than 317 million people It has more than 146 million registered voters. But increasingly, elected officials seem to believe their only constituency is the Fortune 500… Between big business outsourcing jobs overseas and the billion doled out by the federal government in tax breaks directly to corporations every year, you’ll excuse those who believe President Lincoln’s famous clarion for American government has morphed into ‘Of, By, and For the Company.’ Full story here.
Don't let Congress trade U.S. jobs away Oct. 27, 2014| In the fourth of five in-depth blog posts leading up to the Nov. 4 elections, Teamster Power writes: “…The U.S. is currently involved in negotiating three trade deals – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership and the lesser-known Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) … TISA could do to public sector workers what NAFTA did to the manufacturing sector. Big business is looking to privatize government services not only in the U.S., but worldwide. Read the full story here.
Workers hold the future of inequality in their hands Oct. 31, 2014| In the final of five in-depth blog posts leading up to the Nov. 4 elections, Teamster Power writes: "Our nation's economic recovery may seem real to those who compile government statistics or for the elites on Wall Street and Capitol Hill. But ask the average rank-and-file worker in cities and towns across America, and you'll likely get a much different answer. Despite a reduction in the U.S. unemployment rate, workers are still struggling. The reason is simple — jobs that paid a fair salary and supported families before the Great Recession have been replaced by those that pay the minimum wage or not much higher. Continue reading here.
Learn about the influential people in our Labor history September 1, 2014| The workplace rights and protections we enjoy today were won for us by generations of America's working heroes. The brief biographies of some the greatest figures in working America history – César Estrada Chávez, Joe Hill, Mother Jones, Frances Perkins and others – may inspire you to join in and continue the fight for American Labor.
'Be strong and believe in yourselves' September 8, 2014| "Employers will continue to shock you with unfair labor practices and it is possible that your employer will do you wrong, but the Teamsters will fight for you. And you will win." Laura Lucafo, a pharmacist and member of Teamsters Local 727 in Chicago, told her story of unfair treatment at last week's 2014 Teamsters Women's Conference. "I was called into the office at my work one day, when I was three months pregnant with my first child, and terminated. I was told my termination was effective immediately. There was no notice or cause given. I was shocked…" Read an excerpt from her story here.
Workers apprehensive about Sysco acquisition of US Foods September 10, 2014| … Food giant Sysco has provided no assurances about what will happen after they finish their acquisition of US Foods however they claim the merger will result in $600 million in savings from what they call "synergies." Full story here.
Teamsters celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation Week - again! September 15, 2014| It’s that time of year again! Last year, we asked Teamsters to submit photos of themselves and their trucks to the Teamsters Facebook page. The response was overwhelming Hundreds of Teamsters sent in photos, along with their comments. This year, the Union is asking you again to send photos of you and your trucks, either by posting directly to the Teamsters Facebook page or by sending a direct message to the page. Go ahead, do it!
Trade Commission considers challenge to food merger September 25, 2014| The Federal Trade Commission is considering a possible antitrust lawsuit to block the planned merger of Sysco and US Foods, concerned that combining the nation’s two biggest food suppliers to restaurants, schools and other institutions could threaten competition, according to people familiar with the matter…The commission hasn’t yet decided whether to challenge the deal but a decision could come within weeks, these people said. Full story here.
Burning landfill near a nuclear dump? Sign this petition to Bill Gates! September 26, 2014| Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the dominant shareholder of Republic Services, which owns the burning landfill. He has the power to convince Republic Services to evacuate families living next to the burning landfill. State health investigators found a high rate of brain and nervous system cancers among the children in the area near the landfill. The Teamsters represent about 9,000 of Republic’s workers and despite a contentious relationship with the company, has joined the call for buyouts and removal of the waste. Bill Gates can help protect families living in the nearby community. Please sign the petition here.
Teamsters praise Obama crackdown on companies that abuse workers Aug. 4, 2014| The International Brotherhood of Teamsters strongly supports President Obama's executive order to crack down on corporations that break laws but still win government contracts. Two members of the Teamsters Union stood with President Obama last Thursday to announce the new policy: Mike Petro of Baltimore (fourth from left), a UPS driver with Teamsters Local 355, and Etta Epps of Landover, Md., also a UPS driver, with Teamters Local 639. "I am so proud of how my union makes sure I earn a good wage, health care benefits and retirement security," Petro said. Continue reading here. Watch the video here. (Note: Local 355, like Local 570, is a member of Teamsters Joint Council 62.)
Teamster: Trade deal caused refugee crises at border August 12, 2014| The nine-year-old CAFTA trade deal caused thousands of desperate children to flock to the U.S. border seeking safety, Teamsters legislative representative Mike Dolan explained recently on the Thom Hartmann Show. He calls them 'CAFTA kids.' They are actually the second generation of economic refugees to leave their land and their homes. The first wave came after NAFTA took effect on Jan.1, 1994. Continue reading here. Related:Blame CAFTA for children at the border
US Foods worker outlines his merger concerns to trade commission August 14, 2014| Frank Rinetti, a Teamster member and employee of US Foods, recently sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) seeking information about the proposed Sysco-US Foods merger and he also outlines his concerns about the merger's impact on jobs. Read it here.
UFCW president issue's statement on the mother of Michael Brown August 22, 2014| Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), today released the following statement regarding UFCW member Lesley McSpadden whose son Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Feguson, Missouri.
1934 Minneapolis Teamsters strike, one key precursor to Wagner Act August 26, 2014| The tensions had been simmering for months in Minneapolis. The Teamsters, trying to organize the city's truckers - who were key to transportation of food and industrial goods all over the Upper Midwest - had been browbeaten by the bosses. The so-called Citizens Alliance, a secret able of leading businessmen, was confident it could beat the Teamsters - particularly Local 574 - again. After all, the alliance's virulent and sometimes violent anti-unionism had ruled labor relations in Minneapolis since the early 1900s. This time, in 1934, it didn't turn out that way. Continue reading here.
Hoffa: Weary U.S. workers are still experiencing hard times August 27, 2014| Some naysayers have tried to brush off the income inequality discussion as a trumped-up effete to agitate Americans. However, while they might have wanted to ignore such calls from the Teamsters and other worker advocated, they cannot turn their back on the debate when their friends with ties to the financial world sound the alarm. Full story here.
Spy vs. sp … trucker? July 1, 2014| A case to be heard by the NLRB on August 25th revolves around California trucking company Green Fleet Systems who the Teamsters union claims has used threats, coercion, and the termination of two employees to squash unionization efforts among misclassified independent contractors. Green Fleet Systems is also accused of illegal surveillance of its workers, including using anti-union agents who allegedly made death threats and taught other workers how to harass pro-union drivers…Continue reading. Photo: Green Fleet port drivers fight abusive employer/Image via TeamsterNation. Click to view.
Water. Rest. Shade. July 2, 2014| The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for our area. Heat illness can be deadly. If you work outside you need to protect yourself: Drink water often. Rest in the shade. Report heat symptoms: Dizziness, headache, sweaty skin, fast heart beat, nausea, vomiting, weakness and cramping are symptoms of heat exhaustion. Symptoms of heat stroke are red, hot and dry skin, high body temperature, confusion, fainting, convulsions. Both types of heat illness require emergency care. Check out OSHA's website for additional information and advice about the hazards of working in hot weather.
CA port truckers strike 'indefinitely' over misclassification, right to organize July 7, 2014| MSNBC reports that California truck drivers for three major transportation companies went on strike Monday morning to protest labor law violations. Over 120 drivers are taking action at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the West Coast's largest supply points which handle roughly 40 percent of the nation's imports…Rampant misclassification in the trucking industry is at the heart of the matter. The unscrupulous corporate behavior denies drivers benefits while leaving them on the hook for astronomical maintenance costs. Full story here. Related: This is the fourth strike initiated by the drivers with the backing of the Teamsters union…
Tell Congress to bring the jobs home July 21, 2014| Did you know that U.S. companies can currently receive a tax deduction for certain relocation costs when they move jobs overseas? At a time when the nation's unemployment rate is still too high, why are we rewarding companies for shipping our jobs out of the country? It doesn't make any sense! Senators John Walsh of Montana and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan are trying to right this wrong by introducing the Bring the Jobs Home Act. If passed, U.S. companies that move jobs or business operations to America from other countries would receive a tax break, not the other way around. The tax loophole for companies that ship jobs overseas would be closed. A vote on the Bring Jobs Home Act is expected in the Senate this week. Please email your Senators now and ask that they "Bring Jobs Home" by supporting this legislation.
Workers limited to 6 minutes in the bathroom, Teamsters head to NLRB July 23, 2014| In Chicago, a showdown over bathroom breaks between WaterSaver Faucet Company workers and management has made it to the National Labor Relations Board. New regulations from the company allots six minutes per day for each employee to use the bathroom and violators are being forced to discuss their bathroom activities and face discipline including suspension and termination. Teamsters Local 743 argues that this is an invasion of privacy. Continue reading here. Now, the company is refusing to negotiate a new contract until the workers keep quiet about the discriminatory policy.
Labor lessons from Mississippi Freedom Summer July 25, 2014| (Click image to view.) It's the 50th anniversary of Mississippi Freedom Summer: the 1964 campaign, led by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, to register large numbers of African Americans to vote. Not only hundreds of Black and white college students and other out-of-state volunteers but also thousands of Mississippians bravely joined the effort. Many endured arrests, beatings, bombings. Some were murdered. But in the process, they embarrassed the U.S. on the world stage and moved the country to end Jim Crow. While that summer's campaign focused on political rights, the organizing holds plenty of lessons for unionists. Some, like Larry Rubin, carried those lessons into the labor movement themselves. Read his story here. (Pictured: Freedom Summer activists before leaving training sessions at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, for Mississippi in June 1964. Photo courtesy NPR)
Webinar June 17: How to make college more affordable June 3, 2014| Union Plus invites union members and union leaders to register for a free, upcoming webinar June 17 at 1pm EDT where you'll learn tips and strategies for making college more affordable, get college counseling discounts, college test prep discounts, free student loan counseling and more. Sign up here for "Learn Your Way to Earning Your Way. It's free! Check out Union Plus on Facebook too.
Enter essay contest and win cash for class! June 6, 2014| The Teamsters annual Essay Contest has been announced for students attending college – community, 4-year institution, or technical/vocational program – who are age 23 and younger and are the children or financial dependents of eligible Teamster members. Sponsored by the James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund, this year's Easy Contest topic is: "The vast majority of union members make more than the minimum wage. Why should Teamsters care what the minimum wage is?" The deadline for essay submission is September 30, 2014. Download the application and instructions here.
Sysco/US Foods Merger News Now Posted in New Section June 9, 2014| Members employed at the two food service companies will find news as it becomes available under the Members tab, "Sysco/US Foods Merger Info," or you can click the bright green box located on the upper right column. If you don't see information there that you have read elsewhere, please email the web editor at email@example.com.
Teamsters call on House of Representatives to protect highway safety June 10, 2014| In a letter to U.S. House of Representatives members sent yesterday, Teamsters General President Hoffa urged them to oppose potential floor amendments that would force drivers behind the wheel longer, and allow bigger trucks on the nation's highways. "The tragic accident that claimed the life of comedian Jack McNair and injured many others including actor Tracy Morgan, could have been prevented had Walmart's driver been properly rested rather than reportedly going 24 hours without a break," Hoffa said. Read more here.
Early voting in Maryland is underway June 15, 2014| Your first chance to cast a ballot in the 2014 election for governor and other state and county offices begins today in early primary voting that will run through June 19th. The state primary election will be on June 24th. The general election will be November 4th. As you cast your ballot, consider whether or not your choice of candidates support you and your rights on the job. Do your candidates have a proven track record of defending and improving workers' rights? Do your candidates stand with us on issues that matter to working families? Remember, your vote is your voice. Use it. For the complete list of candidates, click here. For the list of polling places throughout Maryland, click here.
Sysco denies report proposed merger will be challenged by the FTC June 16, 2014| Capitol Forum, a Washington, D.C.-based subscription-based firm that analyzes mergers for policymakers and investors, issued a report on Friday stating: "There appears to be a strong possibility that the FTC will challenge the Sysco/US Foods merger in the near future." Full story at Sysco/US Foods Merger News.
NLRB accuses port trucking firm of 50+ labor violations June 20, 2014| The federal government has accused a trucking company in Carson, Calif., of more than 50 unfair law violations, including firing drivers for union activity, relating against pro-labor employees and planting an anti-union operative amid its workforce. The company denied all the Board’s allegations, stating that it has complied with federal labor laws and that the majority of the firm’s drivers do not support the “heavy-handed” organizing efforts of the Teamsters Union. Full story here.
Teamsters descend on Taylor Farms, rally for food worker justice June 25, 2014| Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa led a major rally on Thursday in support of 900 food processing workers at Taylor Farms, the largest supplier of fresh-cut produce in the world. More than 700 Teamsters, Taylor Farms workers and community supporters packed in front of a stage outside the company’s plant in Tracy, Calif. where low-wage workers have been organizing against poverty pay, abusive working conditions, and extreme anti-union retaliation by the company….Taylor Farms supplies packaged salads and fruits to major retailers, food stores and restaurant chains, including Walmart and McDonalds. Full story here.
Helpful information posted every Monday for members and stewards June 30, 2014| Educational information that can help you better understand your union, your role in it and your responsibility to it is available in the Members Resources section under Members Only and Shop Stewards. Short helpful tips that define a contract campaign, how the bargaining process works, why – and how – a grievance is filed and presented, the importance of confidentiality issues, when a case goes to arbitration, your role in an arbitration, some cautionary notes about insubordination, are among the useful information we've made available to help you be a more informed union member. Don't forget to check in every Monday for something new you can use.
In honor of May Day, Teamster ally gives away labor music
May 1, 2014 | In celebration of May Day, activist and musician Tom Morello is offering his "Union Town" EP for free download today only. "…this record is dedicated to working people of every nationality, age, color, and religion who have the courage to stand up for justice and dignity in the workplace, and beyond.
"It's important that all Sysco and US Foods employees – whether or not they are union members – stay informed as the merger process goes forward," said Steve Vairma, Teamsters International Vice President and Warehouse Division Director. "The Teamsters want to protect jobs, and the best way to stay protected is for all employees at Sysco and US Foods to work together."
Sysco and US Foods workers have been posting pictures and comments on the "SyscoUSFworkers" Facebook page. (A direct link is also our home page.)
Government needs to save workers from these Wall St. wolves Apr.1, 2014| Wall Street just can't help themselves. Elite traders, not satisfied with the deluge of dollars they already were taking in on behalf of hedge funds, are screwing rank-and-file workers by using high-speed networks to find out what stocks others are buying and then buying them first. This rigging of the system – perfectly legal under current rules – allows them within milliseconds to buy and then sell shares and take in tiny profits, over and over again…Government cannot expect hard-working Americans to buy into a system that is crooked. Full story at teamsters.org.
Union is a symbol of our rights Apr. 7, 2014| ...A union is you. It is me. It is the ideology that we have a voice; that we all have the right to due process. A union is the ability to say, “I am a human being and I have certain inevitable rights as an American.” It is a feeling of self-respect and the knowledge that I am my brother’s keeper. A union is the logic that we have responsibilities to help the less fortunate among us. It is a passion that drives us to do the right thing so our world will be a better place... Read the entire guest column at thegazette.com (Iowa).
Judge Approves $1.25M Wage Settlement for Durham Drivers, Attendents Apr. 7, 2014| Last Friday a district court judge approved the million-dollar settlement that Baltimore City school bus drivers and attendants reached with their employer, Durham School Services. The settlement covers damages for 372 class members over unpaid wages dating back to 2010. “Teamsters are proud to have helped these workers bring this injustice to light. We will continue to stand with them until all wages they have earned and are owed are covered,” said Sean Cedenio, principal officer of Teamsters Local 570. A third-party administrator will calculate and issue checks to be mailed to Durham drivers and attendants within 60 days. Read more here.
Teamsters: Stand up, fight back against ALEC Apr. 8, 2014 | (click image to view) Our union provides information and talking points about ALEC, the secretive organization that wants to make us poorer. “In every state, the corporate-sponsored American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, works behind the screens to pass laws that empower billionaires and corporations. ALEC pushes laws to strip workers of their rights, eradicate public education, outsource everything that can’t be nailed down, weaken environmental and consumer protections, suppress voting and increase taxes on the poor and working class while slashing them for the wealthy and for large corporations.” How does ALEC work? Learn more at teamsters/war on workers.org.
Teamster horse-carriage drivers win more support in New York Apr. 17, 2014| Our endangered Teamster brothers and sisters who drive horse-carriages in New York City are winning support from some powerful friends, including the New York Times editorial board, actor Liam Neeson and the New York Daily News. They are defending some 300 horse-carriage drivers from animal rights extremists and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who want to ban horse-carriages and throw the drivers out of work. Full story at teamsternation.org.
Teamsters: Temp work won't get America back on track Apr. 23, 2014| Post-Great Recession America may not be a place of double-digit unemployment. But the number of jobs where workers can earn an honest living that supports a family with the basics has shrunk substantially. And much of that is due to big business hiring tricks that have created an underclass of temporary employees. Increasingly, corporate America is filling its coffers by contracting with staffing agencies that bring in workers that do the same jobs as their permanent colleagues, but for a fraction of the cost. Continue reading at teamster.org.
Local participates in SYSCO/USFoods National Day of Action Apr. 25, 2014| Local 570 representatives distributed information to union and non-union workers at the US Foods facility in Severn, Md., yesterday as part of the national union's effort to raise awareness of the coming merger of SYSCO and US Foods. Read more at Local News. Pictured: Local 570 President Ray Valentine passed out fliers and spoke with workers as they arrived at the US Foods facility.
Teamster Nation introduces a weekly podcast Mar. 3, 2014| The IBT launched a weekly podcast last week that summarizes the latest in headline news from Teamster locals and the national union. Listen to the first 12-minute episode here. Subscribe here to add it to your weekly stop for key Teamster news.
Teamsters back school bus drivers in fight against 'rampant' wage theft Mar. 11, 2014| More than 350 Baltimore-area bus drivers are preparing to celebrate victory in a $1.24 million wage theft case against Durham School Services, an Illinois-based business contracting company with operations across much of the country…The settlement of the U.S. District Court case should be finalized April 4, with distribution of the stolen wage money following immediately afterward, says Moe Jackson, a union organizer for Teamsters Local 570. The Teamsters initiated the wage theft case on behalf of the workers during a 2013 organizing drive. Full story at inthesetimes.org.
IBT: Time for Congress to move on income inequality Mar. 17, 2014| A Senate committee took up discussion of income inequality during a hearing last week focused on how to improve the lives of working families. But unfortunately, not everyone agreed that Capitol Hill needed to lend a hand to lift wages. Full story at teamster.org.
Scholarship application deadline is March 31 Mar. 24, 2014| The James R. Hoffa Memorial Scholarship Fund awards annual scholarships to qualifying high school seniors who are children or dependents of Teamster members. One category of awards totals $10,000 each. These four-year scholarships are disbursed at the rate of $2,500 per year and are renewable annually. Other awards are one-time $1,000 grants. These scholarships are disbursed to the college or university at the beginning of the recipient’s freshman year. Scholarship application GUIDE is here. Download application here.
Sysco, US Food members connect on Facebook Mar. 26, 2014| With the Sysco-US Foods merger looming later this year, Teamster warehouse and drivers at both companies are looking for information about how the merger will impact their workplaces. The IBT's Warehouse Division created a Facebook page this month "for Sysco and US Foods employees to socialize and discuss the issues in the workplace that concern them." Stay informed and updated at Facebook.com/SyscoUSFworkers – check out the photos of Locals 355 and 570 while you're there - and join the text message alert system: Text SyscoUSFnews at 86466 (not case sensitive).
A brief glimpse of human rights advances in the Teamsters Mar. 31, 2014| Women and minorities have always been active in the labor movement. Much of the critical legislation that has been passed over the years started as grassroots movements from within one or more of these groups, even though they frequently did not receive credit or recognition for their efforts. Click here for information and stories that provide examples of the activities, issues and concerns of women and minutes, and how they are viewed and supported by the Teamsters.
ACT NOW: Fast Track is the wrong track for Teamsters February, 2014| Fast Track is a measure that requires Congress to take only a quick up-or-down vote on secret trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and does not allow such agreements to be amended. It limits Congress' constitutionally mandated oversight of such trade deals and lets others decide what's best for America. The result is fewer good-paying U.S. jobs and unsafe food and products for Americans. Like previous "free trade" agreements, the TPP would be a boon for corporations while hurting workers and the environment. The trade agreement would devastate American manufacturing. Though Teamsters, generally, do not represent workers in the manufacturing industry, every Teamster would be affected because a big part of what we do – from warehouse work to transporting products – is related to manufacturing. Take a few minutes right now to follow the steps here and fight fast track! Watch Jim Hoffa tell MSNBC's Ed Schultz how Fast Track is the wrong track for America. Update 2/17: Vice President Biden says trade deals are on hold, at least for now.
Black History is Teamster history Feb. 4, 2014| The contributions of black members to the success of the Teamsters Union are numerous, varied and as old as the union itself. Black team drivers attended the first Convention in 1903 and were active in all aspects of the union from the beginning. That commitment remains strong today. The Teamsters Union has traditionally been ahead of other unions in terms of the treatment of minority members, calling for "no color line" in the union as early as 1906. Continue reading at teamster.org.
Teamsters back legislation reining in anonymous campaign money Feb. 6, 2014| Our union yesterday threw in its support behind new legislation that seeks to reform the political campaign finance system and return government to everyday Americans. By approving the Government by the the People Act, introduced by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Congress would curb the warped priorities that hamper today's political system and return it to one that is of, by and for the people. Giving regular Americans a vehicle to fight back against anonymous billionaires will ensure lawmakers are held accountable by their own constituents above outside interests. Also, Teamsters support campaign reform finance bill.
Teamster attorney sets the record straight in Letter to Editor Feb. 7, 2014| Jim Rosenberg, attorney for Baltimore Teamster Unions 311, 355, and 570, sent a Letter to the Editor in response to The Baltimore Sun's coverage of President Obama's recent visit to the Costco store in Lanham as part of his efforts to promote a national higher minimum wage. The newspaper failed to report that a significant portion of Costco's stores are unionized. (Four local stores are represented by Teamsters Local 311.) Rosenberg sets the record straight. Read it here.
4 steps to improve your retirement savings this year Feb. 10, 2014| The New Year is well underway, so how are your resolutions holding up? Most of us have already given up on one or two, but the Department of Labor's Phyllis Borzi has a recommendation for a resolution that's easy to keep and has major rewards – and now is a great time to make it. Why not resolve to start saving for retirement or save more in your employer's retirement savings plan. Here's how…
Union-made sweet treats for your Valentine Feb. 12, 2014| When you're searching for something sweet for that special person for Valentine's Day, buy union-made-in-America treats. Candy products made by the UFCW, UFW, and BCTGM include Hershey Kisses, Cadburys Fruit & Nut Bars, and Ghiradelli Chocolates. More choices here. As with a lot of traditionally union-made products, more are being cross-produced (union-non-union; US-Mexico), so be sure to read labels to ensure that your candy is union-made in the U.S.
Durham School Services drivers and attendants to receive unpaid wages Feb. 21, 2014| Baltimore school bus drivers and attendants have reached a $1.25 million wage settlement with their employer, Durham School Services, the transportation contractor for Baltimore City Public Schools. The settlement covers damages for 366 class members over unpaid wages dating back to 2010...“Teamsters are proud to stand with these workers and help them recover the wages they worked for and were owed,” said Sean Cedenio, principal officer of Teamsters Local 570 in Baltimore. Learn more about the settlement at teamster.org.
Local 570 stewards gather for bi-annual education and training Feb. 25, 2014| Stewards come together for a three-day educational seminar every two years that is designed to improve their skills in contract enforcement and grievance handling. This year's training focuses on the challenges associated with building membership involvement and promoting solidarity, both vital to keeping Local 570 the strong and successful trade union that it is. Teamster leaders from the U.S. and Canada are also on hand to provide historical perspective on the struggles and accomplishments of the nation's most powerful union, and the escalating challenges facing us in today's war on workers. View more photos here.
TPP threatens the livelihoods of 40,000 Teamster dairy workers Feb. 28, 2014| For 26 years, Teamsters Local 463 Jerry Reeves has toiled at Dean Foods' Lehigh Valley on Landsdale, Pa., working in pasteurizing as well as a fill operator. The job has allowed him top provide a solid middle-class life for his family of six. But if the TPP comes to fruition, countries like New Zealand that have a state-run dairy industry would have an unfair advantage over American privately-owned dairies…"The fact of the matter is this is about American families and these trade deals have brutalized the American economy. A trade agreement is not an agreement. It is a gun to the head of the American worker." Read more here and here.
This Letter to the Editor ran in The Baltimore Sun, February 7, 2014. The author is an attorney for Teamsters Local 311, Teamsters Local 355, and Teamsters Local 570.
Costco shows the value of unions
In your editorial about President Obama's visit to the Lanham Costco to advocate for raising the minimum wage you correctly point out that Costco "has prospered by paying higher wages and offering better employee health coverage than its competitors" ("The Costco example," Jan. 29).
What you failed to note, however, is that a significant portion of Costco's stores on the West and East coasts — including four stores in Maryland — are unionized, with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters representing those workers.
The Teamsters have been successful in negotiating industry-leading wages, benefits and working conditions for their members. Costco has to apply comparable (although not quite as good) wages, benefits and working conditions in its non-union stores to keep workers there from organizing.
The lesson is that a certain degree of union density is a rising tide that lifts all boats. The disparity in income in this country, which is unprecedented in modern times, is directly attributable to a reduction in union density, which is itself a consequence of employers taking advantage of toothless labor laws to beat back organizing efforts.
This week's member and steward tip posted today
Jan. 2, 2014 | Your website administrator was off during the holidays, so postings commenced today. Be sure to check back for a new helpful tip every Monday.
Teamsters urged to boycott Yuengling beer
Black Friday protests held at 1,500 Walmart stores; more than 100 arrested Dec. 2, 2013| OUR Walmart, the non-union group arguing for labor protections, confirmed that protests were held at 1,500 stores on Black Friday to protest pay and calling for a minimum annual salary of $25,000 and better health care for hourly workers. (The average worker makes $8.81 an hour, forcing many to rely on taxpayer-funded public assistance programs to make ends meet. ) The protests took place in large cities — Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Alexandria, Va. and D.C., Boston and Orlando — and stores in smaller cities and towns like Lakeside, Co., Granbury. Tx., and Hyattsville, Md. The company brought in $17b in profits last year. More at CBS News. Related: DC area Walmart workers, community supporters join protests. Also: Walmart's latest lie: "Unions paid $50 to anyone who protested."— Pictured: Brother Gilbert Castillo, IBT Local 396, arrested last month at a Los Angeles protest in support of Walmart workers. More at TeamsterNation.
Buy Made in America (or Canada) this holiday season Dec. 3, 2013| We know we don't have to remind you to shop at Costco, buy-union made beer and ship your holiday packages by UPS. You can also buy union-made Teamster gear at the Teamster Fund store: Teamster Power golf shirts, Teamster flip flops, Teamster earrings, Teamster trailer hitch cover, and our fav – the Teamster Hero T-shirt (shown at right). More ideas for gifts produced by American workers at Teamster Nation.
Woo hoo! Organizing victory at Rhee Bros., Inc. Dec. 5, 2013| Please welcome our new Teamster brothers and sisters who voted overwhelmingly to join Local 570. They are 35 warehouse workers employed by Rhee Bros., Inc. — a distributor of produce, and dry and canned goods, located in Hanover, Md. The workers are seeking job security, and dignity and respect on the job. Local 570 organizer Mosess Jackson said, "It's been three years since these workers have had a raise, and recent management personnel changes have them worried about their own jobs." Welcome to our great union! (Photo: Local 570 Trustee and Organizer Moses Jackson, left, with Rhee Bros. warehouse employee Raphael Diaz following the Dec. 4, 2013, vote count. Diaz acted as the union's observor during the in-plant voting.)
Hoffa: Detroit bankruptcy doesn't change pension obligations Dec. 13, 2013| The effects of the judgment are dire for Detroit municipal government retirees, and the precedent that such a decision sets cannot be overlooked. A spokesman for the Detroit Police and Fire Retirement System told The New York Times that if it could happen in Michigan it could happen anywhere. "If this ruling is upheld, this is the canary in a coal mine for protected pension benefits across the country," he said. "They're gone."… That cannot be allowed to happen. Read General President Hoffa's commentary here.
Local 570 bargaining news, Fall newsletter available Dec. 19, 2013| A negotiations update is available on our Members Only page. The current issue of our newsletter, The 570 Express, is available for viewing and download at The 570 Express tab on the left.
Teamster-backed D.C. taxi drivers achieve major victory Dec. 20, 2013| Due to the strength and unity of the Washington, D.C. Taxi Operators Association, affiliated with Teamsters 922, the Washington, D.C. government has extended the passenger-console deadline from Dec. 1, 2013 to Jan. 15, 2014…On Oct. 29, more than 1,000 drivers met to form their association. Since that time, the association has stood with drivers who are seeking more input into the rules and regulations imposed by the city. Read more about their victory at teamsters.org.
Sign up today for news and information you can use Nov. 4, 2013| This week in Inside Wire: Tips for Members we talk about the contract criteria under which your employer can cut hours or lay off employees. A new steward might be interested to know when a contract actually becomes a contract and that information plus other helpful steward info can be found in Weekly Steward Tip. To access helpful tips and news you can use, sign up today!
Teamsters support Walmart Black Friday strikes Nov. 13, 2013| Teamsters are out front supporting Walmart workers protests in the run-up to nationwide strikes on Friday, Nov. 29, also known as Black Friday. Teamsters are encouraged to join actions supporting the workers. It's very easy to find out what's gong on near you. Just click on BlackFridayProtests.org and type in your zip code in the giant box.
Lawmakers increasingly realize Fast Track is a fraud Nov. 14, 2013| The Teamsters for years have been an outspoken critic of fast-track authorization which allows bad proposed trade agreements to move through Congress on just a quick up-or-down vote. And in the last week, we were joined by 185 House lawmakers who feel the same way.…Fast track is an attack on democracy. Americans have been kept out of the loop on how the TPP will affect their everyday lives. The last think we need is for politicians to fast-track a Pacific trade deal through Congress that allows them to build in secret provisions that help their campaign contributors, but hurt working- and middle-class families. Full commentary by General President Jim Hoffa at The Huffington Post. Related: Word is getting out that the pending Trans Pacific Partnership "is toxic". [Please educate yourself about TPP. It matters in more ways than you can imagine.]
Why L.A. port truckers are striking Nov. 19, 2013| "We are on strike today to have respect and dignity at work," says Walter Melendez, one of approximately 40 Los Angeles port truck drivers who walked off the job at 5 a.m. yesterday morning in protest of alleged unfair labor practices. The strikes featured the rolling "ambulatory pickets" that the truckers have excelled at — chasing down trucks as they leave the port and setting up picket lines in front of them….The drivers have filed a complaint with the NLRB charging that the company retaliated against them for pushing forward with a drive to join the Teamsters. Full story at In These Times.
Truckers support Walmart workers ahead of Black Friday Nov. 22, 2013| Hundreds of workers' actions against Walmart nationwide will occur of Black Friday, Nov. 29. All the actions are important indicators of the rising discontent nationwide against low wages, bad benefits, income equality and the corporate-engineered "race to the bottom" — with Walmart leading the way….On the ground, more than one third of non-union "independent contractor" truck drivers at the Port of Los Angeles walked out against three firms whose fleets truck imported goods from the port inland to Walmart's warehouses, and to warehouses for other retailers. The walkout "put a serious crimp in their operations," Teamsters Local 848 Secretary-Treasurer Eric Tate, who coordinated the action, said in a phone interview… Continue reading at People's World.
7 tips for staying on budget this holiday season Nov. 27, 2013| Do you overspend during the holidays? Holiday spending isn't a competition. Forget what you gave and how much you spent (and received) last year. Create and stick to a budget based on what you can afford this year. Union Plus has seven helpful tips and discounts to keep you within this year's budget.
Teamster employer is Maryland's ‘Greenest’ Distributor Oct. 10, 2013| Local 570 warehouse workers employed by Leonard Paper joined other employees and invited guests Tuesday in a ceremony marking the company's switch to full solar power from traditional energy reliance, making it one of Maryland's most energy efficient distributors. The family-owned company, a wholesale supplier of environmentally-friendly janitorial supplies and food service disposables, employs more than 153 workers at its Baltimore plant, including 31 union warehouse workers. Leonard Paper is one the first companies organized by Local 570, with collective bargaining agreements dating back to the late 1940s. Full story at Local News. (L-R) James Bishop, Billy Cook, Darryl Anderson, LU 570 Vice President/Business Agent Rich Brown, Dick Stacharowski, George Dubiel, Jerry Gibson, Gary Anders, and Matthew Gross
Top 5 reasons to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5 Oct. 25, 2013| Election day is coming. Are you registered? It's important — and not only because people have gone on hunger strikes and been murdered so their fellow Americans can vote. Voter registration is one of the most powerful means union members use to make our voice heard, and it's a priority of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. Find out why it is important for you to register and show up on November 5.
UC2 drivers, day center aides, residential aides unite for justice Sept. 25, 2013 | Workers employed by Unified Community Connections (UC2) who serve children and adults with varying disabilities came together Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at the Union Hall to celebrate their recent affiliation with the Union, build unity, and discuss strategies for winning first contracts. On hand to address the workers were Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Negotiator Sean Cedenio, NAACP/Baltimore Chapter President Tessa Hill-Aston, Trustee/Organizer Moses Jackson, and IBT organizer Katie Finn.
Reminder! New Maryland cell phone, seat belt laws in effect Oct. 1 Sept. 27, 2013| Effective Tuesday, October 1, if you are caught driving while talking on your hand-held cell phone, you will be pulled over and issued a $75 ticket. Previously, police could only ticket a driver for cell phone use if the driver was stopped for a primary offense, such as speeding. Maryland's new get-tough law upgrades the state's existing hand-held cell phone law to primary status. A second offense will cost you $125, a third and subsequent offenses, $175. Additionally, the new seat belt law requires all passengers to wear a seat belt while traveling in the backseat of any vehicle. It is a secondary law and carries a $50 fine. (The primary law covers an unrestrained driver and/or passenger in the front seat.)
Local 570 members employed by Leonard Paper joined other employees and invited guests Tuesday in a ceremony marking the company's switch to full solar power from traditional energy reliance, making it one of Maryland's most energy efficient distributors.
The family-owned company, a wholesale supplier of environmentally-friendly janitorial supplies and food service disposables, started business 73 years ago with four employees and one truck. It now employs more than 153 workers at its Baltimore plant, including 31 Teamsters Local 570-represented warehouse workers and 35 Teamsters Local 355- represented drivers.
Leonard Paper is one the first companies organized by Local 570, with collective bargaining agreements dating back to the late 1940s. The company serves a wide range of customers in the Baltimore-Washington region.
Dick Stacharowski (left), senior warehouseman with 37 years on the job, said the switch to solar power will give the company significant savings long-term but an immediate benefit for him and his coworkers will be more reliable heat during cold weather. "There are times when the guys complain about the lack of heat in the aisles when its cold outside and those doors [on the dock] have to be open. That can be stressful. The new system will keep us warm. It's a great improvement!"
The latest upgrade to its facility — the installation of 1,700 solar panels on the plant's roof — will allow the company to generate clean sustainably energy for the next 30 years. According to company literature, it has fully automated on demand sensing lights in its distribution facility, nightly on-site refueling of its trucks which reduces fuel consumption, and zero landfill impact as a result of its comprehensive recycling program.
The solar commissioning ceremony included comments by senior members of the Leonard family and presentation of a Proclamation to Maryland's Greenest Distributor from Governor O'Malley by the state's comptroller, Peter Franchot.
Pictured above right: Robert Buckalew (22-yr. employee) and Marvin Hightower (19-yr. employee)
Social Security National Day of Action in Baltimore tomorrow July 1, 2013| Join the Maryland and DC Alliance for Retired Americans on July 2 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at the Woodlawn Social Security Office, 6401 Security Blvd., Baltimore, MD. as they join hands to for a "human chain against the chained CPR." This National Day of Action — only one of dozens in cities across the nation — will showcase the broad base of support of Americans who support protecting and enhancing retirement security, not dismantling Social Security inch by inch. The chained CPI is a cold, calculated benefit cut to all current and future retirees. For information and directions, click here. News you can use: The CPI, explained.
Obamacare Will ‘Destroy The Very Health and Wellbeing’ of Workers July 15, 2013|The Wall Street Journal - The roll out of President Obama’s health care reform package was always going to be tricky, with vehement opposition from his political opponents and pushback from employers large and small. But after announcing last week that penalties for companies failing to comply with the law will be delayed by a year, the Affordable Care Act has a new, high profile set of dissenters: Unions. The leaders of three major U.S. unions, including the highly influential Teamsters, have sent a scathing open letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, warning that unless changes are made, President Obama’s health care reform plan will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” If that’s not bad enough, the Affordable Care Act, if not modified, will “destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans,” the letter says. Full letter here.
Helpful union tips for members are posted every Monday June 10, 2013| Information that can help you understand how the union works and your role in it is avaialble right here on this website. What a contract campaign is, how the bargaining process works, the unwritten laws of the workplace, your role in the grievance and arbitration process and more is over on the left under the Members Only drop down menu. Stewards will find information under the Shop Stewards tab that will increase their effectiveness as the Teamster representative on their shop.
Union Plus benefits for Teamsters June 20, 2013| Because you are an IBT union member or union retiree, you and your family are automatically eligible for Union Plus benefits. Why pay more? As a Teamster, you qualify for many union-only deals and discounts on numerous services or products with savings that could add up to more than $4,000 a year. Learn more about your Union Plus savings and discounts here.
Good news for members in 401(k) plans June 25, 2013| For those of you who have access to and are taking advantage of your employer-based 401(k) plan, you are probably paying less for your mutual funds than retail investors. The Dept. of Labor's Employees Benefits Security Administration reports that on a recent study from the Investment Company Institute finding that 401(k) plan participants in mutual funds tend to hold lower-cost funds, and that the expenses plan participants have incurred for investing in mutual funds have declined substantially in the past 15 years. For helpful information about timelines in retirement planning, click here.
When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.
Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.
Now this vision has come back to haunt us.
Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated “December 31, 2013” deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.
Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:
First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.??
Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. These non-profit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the Taft-Hartley Act. Our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.
And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.
On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans.
We believe that there are common-sense corrections that can be made within the existing statute that will allow our members to continue to keep their current health plans and benefits just as you and the President pledged. Unless changes are made, however, that promise is hollow.
We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our respective unions.
We are looking to you to make sure these changes are made.
James P. Hoffa
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
First Transit steward Renald Duverneau likes to fix problems
May 8, 2013 | First Transit driver and shop steward Renald Duverneau doesn’t like the spotlight, yet he willingly steps into it again and again, because he believes that being a steward is never about him — it is all about his co-workers.
Editor's note: As the key point of contact between you and union leaders, local stewards work daily to represent you and your best interests. Here they'll tell you a bit about themselves, and what motivates them to take on the important role of shop steward. Check back with us periodically as we introduce you to another Local 570 shop steward.
Renald Duverneau likes to fix problems, loves the occasional ‘thank you’
First Transit driver and shop steward Renald Duverneau doesn’t like the spotlight, yet he willingly steps into it again and again, because he believes that being a steward is never about him — it is all about his co-workers.
Renald’s quiet, deliberate manner belies the passion and commitment he feels about his work as a steward. “When my co-workers cried out for my help, I answered their call. There’s something in me that wants to help someone who can’t help themselves. I cannot stand by or look away if I can help.”
Renald, currently serving a second term as a Local 570 steward, has been employed at First Transit since June, 2007.
Born in Haiti, Renald came to the United States in 1981 to live with extended family, first taking a job as a cashier in a family-owned garage in New York City and then in 1987, he moved to Maryland where a cousin got him a non-union warehouse job at a Marriott Distribution Center.
“My cousin bragged about what a great place Marriott was to work but after a while I saw it differently because during the 1990s while President Clinton’s policies had created a booming economy, we were closing up on eight years without a raise.”
Local 570 had tried to organize the warehouse once before but the workers received lavish promises of raises from the company, dooming the campaign.
“Everything I heard from the employer about the union was negative. But the company’s tactics opened my eyes. If the union was such a bad thing, why would the company work so hard to defeat it? Once the election was over, it really was over because the company failed to deliver on its promises.”
Unwilling to give up his determination to bring fairness and respect to his workplace, Renald began a second organizing campaign almost immediately. “People were crying out for raises. The night shift got some raises, but the day shift was denied. People with the most seniority worked the day shift. How was that fair? So I got myself moved to nights which gave me the opportunity I needed to talk to everyone about the Teamsters and get cards signed.”
The next union election was “a blowout.” More than 300 warehouse workers voted to join Local 570, but shortly after a 5-year contract was ratified Marriott shut down every one of its warehouses across the country.
Renald had had enough of warehousing. He got his CDL (commercial drivers license) and sought out employment as a driver in a union shop. He came to First Transit via its predecessor companies: Yellow Transportation, CONNEX and Veolia.
When asked what he found most rewarding about his work as a steward, Renald laughed, saying, “If I can solve a problem without filing a grievance? That makes me happy.”
“People ask me why I do this shop steward work. You don’t get paid, they say. But it’s not about money. It’s about what you can do to help others. I have a daughter. I’d like to think someone would help her.”
As rewarding as the union work is, some things do keep him awake at night. Like when he learns a union member has been critical about the union to management. “If we have a problem with our union, we should resolve it among ourselves.”
Renald worries about his members who have troubled work histories. He worries about how to help them improve and stay employed. He worries that he’ll get a call from someone in trouble and after investigating the complaint, realizes he won’t win a grievance. Then he worries about how he’ll find a way to win the grievance anyway.
“My responsibility as a steward is to learn everything I can because a steward should never let management define the contract.”
Renald feels strongly that union members must be involved in the political process and vote in every election, including local elections. “We can’t expect to move our union forward without raising our voices. Together we stand, divided we will fail.”
He hopes younger members will learn about the union and its history. In doing so, they will better understand why they pay dues to the union and how that money works for them. “Read your contract. Look at the protections it gives you. That’s where your money goes. Then try to imagine working without it.”
Renald draws inspiration from a quote by author David J. Schwartz: “Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches or pounds or college degrees or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking.”
Renald resides in Elkridge, Md., with his wife and 2 children.
Maryland lawmakers pass tougher cell phone use law Apr. 10, 2013| A get-tough bill that upgrades enforcement of the state's existing handheld cell phone law to primary status becomes effective October 1. The law significantly increases fines for distracted driving violations. Read more at Local News.
Don't buy your prescription drugs at chains like CVS and Rite Aid... Apr. 10, 2013| It's costing you big time. According to a new Consumer Reports investigative study, there is rampant variation in the price of generic drugs as large U.S. pharmacy chains—including CVS, Rite Aid, and Target—marking up the prices of generic drug versions for common medications by as much as 18 times what wholesale chains like Costco charge. That price variance ends up costing Americans, who spend an average of $758 out-of-pocket on drugs every year, hundreds of dollars in unnecessary spending each month. Full story here. (Note: You don't need to be a member to use Costco's pharmacy.) Related stories: It pays to shop around for prescriptions drugs...
Members with CDLs: Take this safety survey and be eligible for a free iPad3 Apr. 2, 2013| John Hopkins University is recruiting IBT members who are full-time commercial drivers for a study on distracted driving. By taking this quick, 10-minute online survey, you can enter a drawing for a free iPad 3. All answers are confidential. You must be over 18 and able to read English to participate. Don't wait! John Hopkins will only take the first 500 drivers who complete the survey. Questions? Contact the study staff at JohnsHopkinsDriving@gmail.com
Is your financial advisor working in your best interest? Apr. 1, 2013| How can you tell? Selecting someone who is being paid to provide you with investment advice is a crucial decision. You want to make sure that the advisor you select is working in your best interest and that your retirement savings are protected. Asking the right questions, up front, will help you protect yourself and your assets. The DOL has a fiduciary guide fact sheet available here.
Sign the petition to keep knives off planes Mar. 21, 2013| The TSA proposal to lift the ban on certain knives aboard planes would put Teamster members who work in the aviation industry – flight attendants, pilots, and other airline employees – more at risk, as well as the general public. Not all flights have air marshals aboard, nor are pilots armed. While pilots now fly behind reinforced cabin doors, flight attendants have little protection from knife-wielding passengers wanting to do harm. The proposal to allow knives aboard planes is ill-conceived and dangerous. Please sign the petition today!
Local union news update posted Mar. 18, 2013| News about recent and on-going contract bargaining is available here in the Members Only section. If you haven't yet signed up, now would be a good time to become a registered user of this website.
Tell Congress to cancel the cuts Mar. 18, 2013| Call your member of Congress at 888-659-9401 and tell them to repeal sequestration. The across-the-board cuts will cost more than 1 million jobs this year and many more jobs over the next decade. On a just-released important message from the IBT, General President Jim Hoffa said, "By not acting to end the sequester, Republicans are telling us that those tax loopholes and their billionaire benefactors are more important than creating jobs and stimulating commercial activity in their own country." Don't wait. Call now: 888-659-9401. Tell Congress to repeal sequestration.
Maryland distracted driving update: A get-tough bill that upgrades enforcement of the state’s existing handheld cell phone law to primary status has cleared the House and Senate. The measure also would make significant increases in fines for distracted driving violations.
First offenses will bring a $75 fine. A second offense could bring a ticket of up to $125, and a third to $175. The current fine for violations range from $40 to $100. The plan to assign points was removed by amendments.
The removal of the secondary enforcement provision of the handheld cell phone law means police can stop and cite violators for that reason alone.
The bill, sent to the governor on April 8, was a rerun of previously unsuccessful legislation by Del. James Malone. “They can’t have (a cell phone) in their hand whatsoever,” Malone says. The legislature did water down the penalties in the original bill.
Two other 2013 bills also sought to remove the secondary enforcement limitation on the state’s existing handheld cell phone law.
State Sen. Nancy King puts a spin on the enforcement issue. Her Senate Bill 193 of 2013 specifies primary enforcement if a child under the age of 8 is in the vehicle when the driver violates Maryland’s handheld cell phone law. King, D-Montgomery County, also sponsors a bill seeking to increase penalties for not safely securing a child in a vehicle.
The state made several technical adjustments to its existing distracted driving laws during the 2012 legislative session.
They included a separation of cell phones and texting devices under the legal definition of a “wireless communication device.”
Text messaging prohibited for all drivers.
Handheld cell phone use banned for all drivers.
Fines between $40 and $100.
Drivers under the age of 18 prohibited from any use of cell phones.
Hoffa on Obama's immigration reform proposal Jan. 30, 2013| Yesterday President Obama announced his proposal for immigration reform and challenged Congress to act quickly. Teamsters President Jim Hoffa said the the President's plan offers a straightforward approach to a problem that can no longer be ignored. "The President's plan offers a more complete approach to addressing challenges that are at the root of the problem…For the first time, we have a proposal that will hold all parties accountable – undocumented workers, unscrupulous employers and the federal government…" Please read President Hoffa's full statement here.
Call to action! Preserve Social Security, Medicare and education Jan. 27, 2013| Teamsters everywhere are needed to step up in this IBT Call to Action: Extremist lawmakers on Capitol Hill are calling for cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and education as ways to reduce the national deficit…Reducing the deficit on the backs of the middle class is just plan wrong. On January 30th, events will be held across the country to send Congress a clear message: No cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and education. Instead of cutting vital programs, Congress needs to make sure that big corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. Find an event in your area here. If you can't join a direct action, you can send a loud message to Congress by joining our Thunderclap.
NLRB chairman's statement on court's recess appointment ruling
Jan. 25, 2013 | Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a decision finding that the Jan. 4, 2012 recess appointments of three members to the National Labor Relations Board were invalid. In response, Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce issued the following statement:
"The Board respectfully disagrees with today’s decision and believes that the President’s position in the matter will ultimately be upheld. It should be noted that this order applies to only one specific case, Noel Canning, and that similar questions have been been raised in more than a dozen cases pending in other courts of appeals.
In the meantime, the Board has important work to do. The parties who come to us seek and expect careful consideration and resolution of their cases, and for that reason, we will continue to perform our statutory duties and issue decisions."
United Cerebral Palsy aides attend first contract proposal meeting Jan. 25, 2013|Recently-organized and empowered United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) aide workers met with Local 570 leaders January 15 to hammer out proposals for their first contract, an agreement they want to reflect the goals that motivated them to get organized: respect, dignity and a voice on the job. Members were actively engaged in a thoughtful discussion about important issues such as scheduling, paid time off, just cause, safety protection and seniority rights. Negotiations began January 23, 2013 and will continue February 6, 2013. Stay tuned for more Local updates in the up-coming issue of The 570 Express.
Fix the filibuster, fix the Senate Jan. 17, 2013 | The U.S. Senate is where good bills go to die. The chart below is telling, isn't it?
"The supermajority required just to begin debate–60 of the 100 Senators–creates gridlock and ignores the fundamental American principle of majority rule." ~ CommonCause.org
Next week, the Senate may be taking up Resolution 4, a bill to reform the filibuster process and make it more transparent. If enacted, this reform would mean Senators would actually have to speak and debate publicly on the floor of the U.S. Senate in order to keep a filibuster going, just like Jimmy Stewart did in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. As it stands now, a Senator can simply send an email to continue a filibuster.
We need more accountability of our elected officials, and if they wish to block legislation, they should be required to put real time and energy into it.
Here's what we need you to do: Call your Senators TODAY and ask that they fix the Senate by fixing the filibuster! Tell them to vote FOR Senate Resolution 4.
You can reach your Senators by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Reduce your debt and get your budget in shape Jan. 14, 2013|Managing your money and credit doesn't have to be risky business. But conquering debt may be more challenging than ever in today's economy. The good news: union members have access to expert tools and resources to help them cut debt and improve their financial health. The advice is designed and discounted especially for union members. Services include free budgetary analysis, personal budgeting tools and savings tips, and experienced credit counselors available 24/7. Click here for helpful information from Union Plus.
(L-R) Roesel-Heck members Marty Waggoner, Tyree Wiggs and Leonard Bridgeford.
Undeterred by a vote delayed for 3 days by Superstorm Sandy, 11 warehouse workers and drivers employed by Roesl- Heck, voted Nov. 2 to join Local 570. The workers united for dignity, respect and better safety on the job.
"I wanted to join the Teamsters because we have poor treatment and no job security," said warehouse worker Leonard Bridgeforth. "The employees have shown that they trust Local 570 to get them the dignity, respect, wages and benefits that a union contract can provide," said Principle Officer Sean Cedenio. Roesl-Heck is a regional wholesale distributor of floor coverings for commercial and residential properties.
Several months after United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) drivers voted to join Teamsters Local 570, 31 inside care providers voted overwhelmingly in November to become Teamsters.
A 2-year contract is in place for 75 warehouse workers and drivers at Bond Distributors that includes wage increases and maintenance of Health & Welfare, and pension contributions.
The Local is in negotiations with First Transit (Laurel), Pepsi/Havre de Grace (contract expires 12/31) and preparing for negotiations with Eby-Brown where the current contract expires in February 2013.
Hostess Brands, Inc., in bankruptcy since Jan. 2012, opted to liquidate the company, close its bakeries, and lay off 18,500 employees, including 38 long-term employees and members of Local 570.
Winner Distributing recently offered buyout packages on a first-come, first-serve basis, and 24 of our members stepped up to take the offer. Four long-term members attended the December membership meeting and were recognized for their service and dedication to the company and to our union. Pictured left to right are Ken Bazemore (40 years), Mike Schwartz (32 years), Jim CLark (27 years) and Rick Dorsey (15 years). All retired from the company June 21, 2012.
According to this CBS report, the company had "warned employees that it would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell assets if plant operations didn't return to normal levels by Thursday evening."
The bakers didn't return to work by the 5 p.m. ET Thursday deadline. Their decision to defy that deadline put our members who, along with 7,000 other Hostess Teamsters, out of work at the worst possible time – just before the holidays. Members worked hard to give the company a fighting chance at success, even though it meant agreeing to an unpalatable concessionary contract.
With so many jobs at risk, Teamster Hostess members were dispatched on Thursday to Hostess facilities in Philadelphia, Pa., Tulsa, Ok., St. Louis, Mo., and Biddeford, Me., (where the largest percentage of BCTGM members were striking) where they tried to convince the bakery workers to return to work by the 5 p.m. deadline.
CEO Gregory Rayburn in an interview on NBC Friday was asked if the decision could be reversed if the bakers union returned to work, responded "Too late."
In the IBT's official statement released today following Hostess Brands' announcement to liquidate the company, General-Secretary Ken Hall wrote: "Our hearts and prayers go out the Teamster Hostess members and all Hostess workers who will lose their jobs. The timing of the closure could not be worse as we enter the holiday season. We will work with our Teamster Local Unions to Inform Hostess Teamsters of their rights to receive unemployment." (Read yesterday's IBT press release here.)
Many of our Hostess members are long-term employees, with 12 to 29 years on the job. It is a sad day for Local 570. Local 570 President Ray Valentine said Friday morning that if any Hostess member "needs any help any help at all" in the face of this latest development, including questions or concerns about unemployment, health & welfare and pension, do not hesitate to call him at 410-284-5081.
Pictured are 570 Teamster members at an April 2012 informational picket at a Hostess Brands facility in Glen Burnie, Md.
Romney-Style Economics Behind the Decline of Hostess, But Workers are Paying the Price
Via Working America - Hostess Brands is one of the most recognizable food companies in America, having manufactured Wonder Bread and Twinkies for decades. But now the company has announced they are liquidating, and company is unfairly blaming their workers, many of them members of BCTGM and the Teamsters.
The fact is that the responsibility lies with Hostess’ management and the vulture Wall Street private equity firm behind them, and yet the workers are the ones who will suffer the consequences of this shutdown.
There's a lot at stake for Teamsters, our families and the nation's middle class
Nov. 5, 2012 | Mitt Romney tauts himself as one of the strongest anti-union candidates in history, and proof of that is in his roadmap to dismantle workers' rights. His anti-union agenda includes supporting states pursuing right-to-work laws which make negotiating contracts more difficult while lowering wages and eliminating benefits. Last February Romney's campaign said: "Once upon a time, labor unions fought to secure important protections for American workers and help our economy grow. Unfortunately, today they too often stand as obstacles to growth and fight against the workers they are supposed to serve." Romney also said he would sign a national right-to-work law if it came across his desk.
He would amend the National Labor Relations Act to guarantee the secret ballot in every union certification election (killing card-check neutrality), and further amend it to guarantee that all organizing campaigns last at least one month (providing more time for employer anti-union campaigns). He'll prohibit the right of union members to use payroll deductions for political purpose which would take away workers' rights to political free speech (think Maryland Teamsters PAC and D.R.I.V.E.).
The Romney/Ryan ticket has doubled down in their hostility to unions and would continue to slash and burn collective bargaining. (Remember what anti-worker Republicans have done in Anne Arundel County, and in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania.) Romney/Ryan would restrict what they consider OSHA's "overreaching regulation agenda" which would put workers' safety and health at risk. Worker pensions would be dumped in favor of high-risk retirement savings programs. Campaign for America's Future wrote "the GOP platform mocks workers' pensions as useless artifacts which were "born in an old industrial era beyond the memory of most Americans." Remember too, that Romney has off-shored thousands and thousands of American jobs.
What guarantee do we have that would not continue?
Although we've clashed with President Obama over foreign free trade agreements, budget cuts and the deficit, and his failure to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, he believes the right to organize and collectively bargain with employers is a fundamental American right. Unlike his opponent , President Obama champions the American worker and believes the economy is stronger when collective bargaining rights are protected.
Obama preserved more than 160,000 Teamster and middle class jobs by saving the auto industry. There have been 31 straight months of job growth. He cut taxes for millions of us in the middle class. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), we won't lose our coverage if we get a serious illness, and we don't have to spend out hard-earned wages supporting under-funded drug costs for our parents and grandparents.
President Obama appointed labor advocates to the National Labor Relations Board and the National Mediation Board who understand the importance of standing up for workers' rights. He appointed Hilda Solis, daughter of a former Teamster, to be U.S Labor Secretary. And he has opposed any and all right-to-work legislation.
Moving forward, President Obama's goals include creating a million new manufacturing jobs and doubling exports within 2 years, eliminating tax breaks for companies that are shipping our jobs offshore and instead, will offer tax breaks to companies that invest in American products and the workers who produce them. His agenda also includes making it easier for American workers to invest in workplace retirement savings that have portability so you won't lose your pension when you change jobs. And he will continue to oppose right-to-work and paycheck protection legislation efforts.
Got family and friends living in other states? Jump over to Teamsters.org for the list of registration deadlines and website addresses for every state and pass that info along to your folks.
Why is it important? From the IBT:
"In states across the country, new laws have gone into effect that could potentially prevent you from voting. The conservative crusade for voter identification laws is little more than a way to disenfranchise poor people and minorities. It's important to know the laws in your state."
This election is likely to be the most important one in our lifetime. Please do your part to ensure everyone you know has the opportunity to cast their ballot in November.
Oh and by the way, Our Time (Standing Up for Young Americans) is a great website for the under thirty-somethings in your life. Pass it on.
Sept. 17, 2012 | Fifty-five Galliker's/Potomac Farms Dairy employees and members of Teamsters Local 453 went on strike September 12, 2012 in response to the company's implementation of it's final offer that ended contributions to the employee pension plans.
"Our members are united and we've had great support from the public," said Local 453 President Larry Wolfe. "No one has crossed the picket lines except management and non-union staff."
The union provided the company with a 48-hour strike notice Monday, Sept. 10. The company has yet to respond.
The previous collective bargaining agreement expired in February 2011 but the parties agreed to continue contract talks. According to Local 453 President Larry Wolfe, the company made its final offer in May but the members voted overwhelmingly to reject it and voted to authorize a strike. The company refused to meet with the union and imposed its offer in June.
"We've been at the table for a year and a half. Not only is the pension issue of great concern, but 15 months of retroactivity and holiday pay is at stake as well," Wolfe said.
Local 453 represents drivers and production workers at the Cumberland dairy plant and others working in Virginia and West Viginia. The company provides dairy products to local schools and convenience stores.
The Teamsters have represented workers at Potomac Farms for decades, and the relationship with the employer has always been a good one. In 1984, the Galliker Dairy Company of Johnstown, Pa., acquired the Potomac Farms Dairy operation. Since then labor management relations have been handled by the corporate parent. "This is the most anti-worker company we've had to to deal," Wolfe said.
Support for the Potomac Dairy strikers is growing, said Wolfe, as family, friends and members of the public join the picket line.
Local 453 is a member local of Teamsters Joint Council 62.
Aug. 31, 2012|In his Labor Day message to Teamsters, General-President Jim Hoffa wrote: "This Monday, we pay tribute to the millions of dedicated men and women who make our world better and keep our country working. Each and every year, Labor Day is a time for reflection. The American labor movement is responsible for many things we take for granted—the weekend, the 40-hour work week and anti-child labor laws to name a few. Today, our movement is reinvigorated and working for other profoundly important things: securing wages and benefits that working families deserve, the continued existence of the middle class, and respect and dignity for all working people. I’m proud that the 1.4 million members of the Teamsters Union are at the forefront of this effort.
But make no mistake, working families are being attacked and scapegoated like never before. Public employees are being blamed for bad economies. Pensions and health care benefits are demonized as excessive perks of the past while the richest among us enjoy tax rates that are some of the lowest in our nation’s history.
Corporate-backed politicians have mounted the most vicious anti-union attacks in memory. Government workers are being stripped of their collective bargaining rights. Right-to-work-for-less laws to destroy unions are becoming law in many states. And if Mitt Romney is elected president, he has promised a federal Right-to-work law as payback to his big business backers. If this scares you, it should. In fact, at this very moment the Republican National Convention is meeting in Tampa where there message seems to be, “The Middle Class Hasn’t Suffered Enough”. And if they have to take away hard-fought health care benefits, pensions and the rest of our social safety net to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest people on the planet, that’s just what they’ll do—if we let them.
The ultimate goal of these extremist politicians is to further concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few. These elite few may have the money, but we have the numbers. I urge you to fight back by getting involved. You can make a difference by talking to workers in organizing drives; attending rallies; urging politicians to support issues such as fair trade; voting for pro-labor candidates; and by becoming a member of DRIVE, our powerful political action committee. Be proud of our legacy, and tell others what it means to be in a union — solidarity, democracy, and respect. Because if we don't educate the public, no one will.
On this Labor Day, I ask you to get involved and build support for working Americans — Our country’s true everyday heroes.
Join your Teamster brothers and sisters in Philadelphia on Saturday, August 11 for the first-ever Workers Stand for America rally. Union and non-union workers from across the nation will converge on Philadelphia for an all-day event in the heart of the city that will refocus attention on the needs of America's middle-class, and all working families. During the rally workers will sign a Second Bill of Rights, the centerpiece of the rally. The document demands full employment and a living wage, full participation in the political process, a voice at work, a quality education for all, and a secure and healthy future. Click here and here for more info. Sign the Bill here.
Judge Denies Hostess' Bid to Scrap Teamsters Contract
On May 14, 2012, the judge handling the Hostess bankruptcy denied the company's request to terminate its contract with its biggest union, the Teamsters, sending the bakery company back to the drawing board as it tries to claw its way out of its second bankruptcy in recent years…During the hearing Monday, [Judge Robert] Drain commended the Teamsters union's "level of knowledge" about Hostess and the company's problems. Full story at Dow Jones.
The Union proves it had good cause to fight the company's terms. Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall said in a press release:
"We told our Hostess members all along that we would vigorously oppose the imposition of unjust working conditions since Hostess first filed bankruptcy and we have done just that. It's a rare day when a bankruptcy judge denies a company's request to reject its union contracts, and I attribute it to the resolve of our members and the team we assembled to fight the company's motion."
Walmart's abuses are getting ridiculous: Angela WIlliams was fired last week for talking "too much" manager-approved sick leave to care for herself and her ailing grandmother. Another coworker was also fired, while a third was given his "final warning." Not coincidently, all three had been speaking publicly about the abuses they faced on a daily basis
No, Angela has been evicted, forcing her daughter to scrape by with her grandmother while Angela looks for a new job and a new place to live.
Meanwhile, Mike Duke and Rob Walton have their jobs despite reports of their involvement in a reported bribery scandal and a high-level executive cover-up of the incident!
It's time to put an end to Walmart's double standards.
You can help Angela and workers like her. Visit a Walmart store near you on Friday, June 1st to collect petition signatures to demand Walmart end its abuses of workers and our laws. Click here for instructions.
Teamsters on a picket line in front of the Hostess Bakery and Thrift Shop in Glen Bernie, Maryland.
April 13, 2012
GLEN BERNIE, MD. - Several dozen members of locals from Teamsters Joint Council 62 joined a one-hour informational picket line set up by Local 570's Hostess workers at the company's Glen Bernie, Md., bakery location Friday to protest concessions the alleged bankrupt bread maker is demanding of its employees.
Today's action was coordinated with unionized Hostess workers across the nation to send a clear message to the bankruptcy court judge that the Teamsters are prepared for a much longer walkout if the union's concerns are not addressed and the court rules next week to allow Hostess to set Teamster contracts aside.
"We're really stressed out about this," said Mark Gribble (pictured left in photo at right), a CDL driver with the company for 19 years. "It's our jobs that are on the line here. We took a $110 per week pay cut the last time our company went into bankruptcy and they said they wouldn't come back for more. Now they're back, and now they want our pension too."
In January, Hostess Brands, Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection for the second time in 8 years, citing it's need to confront the enormous debt and labor obligations that it claims restricts its ability to compete. The Teamsters have worked hard during months of negotiations to identify mutual solutions that would address the company's problems but frustration has mounted since scheduled meetings have been repeatedly cancelled by the company.
"The onus is squarely on the hedge-fund owners," said Roland Censi (pictured left), a route sales driver with the company for 33 years. "They've made no investment in this business - or the workers that keep it in business. They're looking to make money and move on."
Woody Hartmann, (pictured above in middle) a 20-year driver, said he works 7 days every week so he can catch up on the money he lost because of the last bankruptcy. "I'm fully prepared to go out if we have too. But the fact is, we just really want to help fix the problem, but they're not listening. They need to stop taking from us. After all, we're the ones that earn their bread and butter."
The bankruptcy court hearing on Hostess Brands Inc.'s request to set aside its union contracts is scheduled for April 17 and April 18.
MAR. 21, 2012 | Sixty-three of our shop stewards are brushing up on their representational skills at "Education for a Democratic Workplace," a Local 570-sponsored 3-day steward training conducted by Professor Michael Childers from the University of Wisconsin's School for Workers, a university extension of continuing education and outreach.
"This seminar presents a great opportunity for our leaders to learn, but also network with other Local stewards which helps them better understand the issues facing them in their own shops," said Principal Officer Sean Cedenio.
Childers advised stewards to "look at every conversation you have with a member as an opportunity to grow the union." The seminar will conclude tomorrow. More coverage to come.
* To view photos, click on here. Once you open one of the 3 seminar galleries, click once on an image to view it full size.
STAR organizing committee members Tony Tubman, Gregory Devone, Latonya "Lady" Night, and Mark Thomas are all smiles after the Feb. 17 vote count.
On February 17, 2012 eleven STAR Associates bus drivers voted unanimously to form their union with Teamsters Local 570. STAR Associates is the minority contractor for Veolia and the Charm City Circulator, which transports passengers in Baltimore City. The Veolia Circulator drivers are represented by Teamsters Local 570, and Veolia members and shop stewards were active in the organizing campaign.
“This is an important victory because we are building our power in the bus industry while we protect our existing membership,” said Sean Cedenio, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 570. “Companies need to realize that they will not get away with playing one group of workers against another—we are all in this fight together.”
STAR drivers were fed up with being shorted on pay, not getting raises, and working without many of the benefits that their Veolia counterparts have because of their union contract.
“I wanted to join Teamsters Local Union 570 because I want to be treated with respect and not like a second class citizen. We deserve better benefits, healthcare and a pension,” said STAR driver Luisa Diforio.
Once workers started organizing, they faced intense anti-union intimidation from STAR CEO, Jerome Robinson, Jr. and STAR President Barbara Robinson (who is also a democratic Baltimore City Delegate). Workers received anti-union letters at their homes, and were forced to meet one-on-one with the CEO and his anti-union consultant Thomas Ridgely.
Teamsters Local 570 filed numerous unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, and had the Teamsters pressure STAR to stop their union busting.
The Teamsters made calls to political contacts to pressure the company, and the MD/DC AFL-CIO sent a letter to STAR President Barbara Robinson demanding that she stop her company’s anti-union activity. STAR workers were encouraged by the strong show of support, and voted unanimously to form their union.
STAR Driver Mark Thomas said, “With a union, we will have a grievance procedure that can resolve any problems with management. We will have a better chance to obtain benefits, retirement, etc. because a united front is stronger than an individual.”
On behalf of its 2,000+ members, Local 570 officers and trustees extend a hearty welcome to our newest members!
US Foods bargaining committee members met with the company Feb. 22 and 23. Seated L-R are Henry Borja, 570 President Ray Valentine, and 570 Principle Officer Sean Cedenio. Standing L-R are Philip Grooms, Kevin Young, 570 Trustee Chris Price, Mark Evans, and Mike Rineker.
FEB. 23, 2012 |Members at Cloverland Dairy ratified on February 5 a new 4-year agreement that provides an increase in wages, and protects zero employee contributions for the life of the contract by moving Teamster employees into the Union's medical plan. Union negotiators are still in talks with Bimbo Bakeries. Members employed by Stroehmann's and Entenmann's received an update on the status of bargaining during a Jan. 28 meeting at the union hall. Meetings with the company continue as the parties work to hammer out a final agreement. More updates here.
FEB. 17, 2012 |Negotiations continue for a successor agreement for shipping and receiving workers at Merchant Terminal (MTC Logistics). The collective bargaining agreement expired Feb. 10, 2011, but the parties have agreed to continue negotiations under an extension agreement good until Feb.27, 2012. Pictured is 570's bargaining committee: (L-R) Joe Holmes, Dexter Harrison, Secretary-Treasurer Sean Cedenio, and Reginald Robinson.
* Update: A new contract was overwhelmingly approved March 14 by MTC members. Congratulations to the hard work of the entire bargaining committee for making it happen. Details in the next issue of the Local newsletter.
JAN. 12, 2012 |A Local 570 employer, Hostess Brands, Inc., announced yesterday it had filed for bankruptcy protection to confront the enormous debt and labor obligations that it claims restricts its ability to compete. It plans to continue operating while it restructures the company. Hostess employs more than 7,500 Teamster-represented delivery drivers and merchandizers; 29 are Local 570 members. The Teamsters National Bargaining Committee has been working with Hostess management for months to identify mutual solutions that would address the company's problems. "Our members have already given at the well, and this time it will take sacrifices among all parties - management, lenders, equity holders and employees – to restructure Hostess into a viable enterprise that is well-positioned for growth," said Denis Raymond, Director of the Teamsters Bakery and Laundry Conference, in an IBT press release. "We were hoping that could have been done prior to a bankruptcy filing, but unfortunately that did not occur. We remain committed to finding a solution, if possible, over the next few months during the bankruptcy process." You can find additional IBT information and news stories here, download a Hostess Member Update here, and take a look at what a retired Hostess Teamster had to say about this latest company development. Update: Teamsters set the record straight on Hostess (1/16)
February 8, 2012 | Already this year, state lawmakers have opened brutal new fronts in the war on workers. And America's workers are fighting back as never before.
In Michigan, anti-worker bills aimed at weakening labor unions are gaining traction in the House. HB 5025, for example, would require employees' annual written authorization to have their union dues deducted from their paychecks.
Working families in Indiana, Florida and Arizona are under especially fierce attack. State politicians loyal to their Wall Street paymasters are trying to lower workers' wages, benefits and safety. They're trying to turn taxpayer assets over to for-profit corporations, along with fat contracts and tax giveaways, at the expense of government employees.
Gov. Mitch Daniels supported a law to make Indiana a right-to-work-for-less state, breaking a campaign promise that earned him labor's endorsement. Last week, he signed the law in secret and held no press conference to announce the deed. That's not what I'd call bold leadership.
Hoosiers will see falling wages, increased poverty and more dangerous workplaces — for now. They will also be engaged in one hell of a fight. Even during protests against the right-to-work-for-less bill, working people were registering voters inside the Capitol. The ballot box is where they'll punish lawmakers who voted against them.
It's happened before. Indiana lawmakers who voted for a right-to-work law in 1957 faced a stiff backlash. Many lost re-election. Eight years later, it was repealed. More recently, Ohio voters overwhelmingly fought back another blatant attack on working families.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott and some lawmakers want to turn many of the state's correctional facilities over to a private corporation with a poor track record of safety and savings. The proposal would save less than one-half of 1 percent of Florida's corrections budget — and that's if those savings actually materialized, which is doubtful. For that tiny savings, prison privatization would put 4,000 correctional officers out of work. Nearly all of them live in poor, rural counties where good jobs just don't exist.
Florida's working families are bringing the fight to Tallahassee. Correctional officers come almost daily to the Capitol to lobby against the bill, joined by hundreds of other workers, including nurses and teachers who fear they'll be next.
Radical politicians in Arizona are trying to ban collective bargaining. What's being proposed is worse than what Gov. Scott Walker rammed through in Wisconsin last year.
Lawmakers would make collective bargaining illegal for government bodies and employee groups. Automatic payroll deductions for union dues would be banned.
Gov. Jan Brewer also wants to strip civil-service protections from state employees. Arizona could soon become the next Wisconsin. The state's working families are making plans for protests, Capitol sit-ins and possibly a recall of Brewer.
Michigan politicians contemplating similar anti-union legislation should proceed at their own electoral peril. Michigan's working families are mobilizing right now and will certainly remember in November.
We may not win battles in every state this fall. It may take years, but in the end, I'm confident we'll win the war on workers.
Jan. 11, 2011 |Negotiations continue with Bimbo Bakeries, parent company of Entenmann's Bakery and Stroehmann's Bakery, employers of 160 route sales reps, mechanics, and warehouse and shipping workers represented by Teamsters Local 570.
A recent mutually-agreed upon contract extension allows employees to continue to work under the same terms and conditions of the expired contract while the parties continue to hammer out a new agreement.
Bimbo Bakeries USA, part of the Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo (pronounced beem-bow), entered the U.S. market in 1996, and with its 2009 acquisition of Stroehmann's and Entenmann's, among others, became the largest bakery company in the United States.
Bimbo's acquistion of the bakery division of Sara Lee Corporation in 2010 is currently under regulatory review.
"Even in this difficult economy, the bakeries are trying to do what they can to increase production in the Elkridge facility, a move we view as a positive development for our members," explained Principal Officer Sean Cedenio. "There are some quirks that need to be worked out, and negotiations are a bit more complicated due to the issues related to the company's purchase of Sara Lee."
We'll keep you posted.
Pictured above before a November 4 bargaining session are L-R (front row) Tom Joicy III, Secretary-Treasurer Sean Cedenio, President Ray Valentine, and Tom Joicy IV; (center row) Richard Burrell, Eric Knickerbocker, Charles Bailey, Steve McGronan, Mike Forstner, Leonard Herd; (back row ) Rick Young, Tim Grochowski, Myron Love, Bryan Holley, Randall Howard, Jeff George, Rodney Snider.
NOV. 14, 2011 |Bargaining committees for the Union and the dairy company held their first negotiations session October 26, 2011. The current contract expires Nov. 30, 2011. Local 570 represents the company's mechanics, production and distribution employees. Committee members pictured at right are (front row L-R): Rayfield Ghee, Matt Sefa, Secretary-Treasurer Sean Cedenio, Eric Thrower and JC Downs. (Back row L-R): Vice President Richard Brown, Trustee Angelo Wilson, Vaughn Forrest, and Carnell Richards.
Update: A contract extension is in place while the parties work to hammer out an agreement.
A new contract was approved January 7, 2012 by Pepsi field service techs, jockeys and warehouse employees.
The new 4-year agreement provides wage increases, an increase in night differential and pension benefit.Significant language changes were achieved, including improvements in seniority language.
Pepsi bargaining committee members (below) review proposals during a December 16 negotiations session. Seated (L-R) are Patrick McManus, Vice President Richard Brown, and Paul “Pepsi” Smith. Standing (L-R) Butch Heavel, Steve Bonhoff, Secretary-Treasurer Sean Cedenio, Clarance Martin and Ivan Eberhardt.
Nov. 11, 2011
Attached below is an update on the unfair labor practices strike at the Streator, Illinois U.S. Foods facility that is heading into its third week. Teamsters maintenance workers were forced to take the action after the company refused to bargain in good faith and after it retaliated against members serving on the bargaining committee.
Download: Streator Nov 11 update.pdf
Though the weather gods didn't get our memo request for sunshine and pleasant temperatures, the fantastic turnout for our Local Union picnic Saturday, August 13, made the family-friendly event a huge success.
Intermittent thunderstorms and humid temperatures didn't stop more than 250 members and their families from attending our first-ever picnic at Rocky Point State Park. With plenty of food, drink and entertainment to be had under the large pavilion near the beach, there wasn't much need for blankets and beach balls, though a few people didn't let a few raindrops get in the way of a refreshing swim. Face painting and balloon animals were a hit with the kids, and few could resist hitting the grassy, though damp, "dance floor."
Many thanks to all who helped make our Day in the Park, well, a great day in the park!
Dozens of Teamster members and their supporters from Locals 311, 355 and 570 rallied Saturday, August 6, at Bimmerfest East to protest BMW's intent to fire 100 Teamsters at their California parts distribution center and outsource their jobs.
A plane circled overhead with a banner in tow that read "www.bmwultimatemisery.com," as Teamsters distributed thousands of leaflets inside and outside the all-day outdoor event. They wore t-shirts and held banners that read "BMW: The Ultimate Misery."
More than 1,600 owners of vintage and late model BMWs and hundreds more walk-in Bimmer fans attended the annual event that was held at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen, MD. Many were dismayed to hear about BMW's decision, and expressed concerns about lengthy delays that could result from bringing in a cheaper, inexperienced workforce to do the jobs of long-time members of the BMW family.
Maryland lawmakers endorsed most of Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) fairly ambitious agenda as they wrapped up the state's 428th legislative session this month.
O'Malley signed 163 bills into law, among them the alcohol tax law, and a law which bars employers from using a job applicant's credit history in the hiring or promotion process. Credit reports are also now off the table for assessing a current employee's compensation or other employment privileges. The law makes exceptions for certain positions, such as those requiring the handling of money.
Also signed into law and effective October 11, 2011 was legislation extending compensability under workers' compensation laws to Anne Arundel County deputy sheriffs suffering from an occupational disease - specifically heart disease or hypertension (high blood pressure) - in the line of duty. Proposed by Teamsters Local 355 and deputy sheriff Dave Belisle, and introduced to the Legislature by Delegate Robert Costa (District 33B), the law will provide the same benefit to the county's deputy sheriff's as it does for other state counties public law enforcement personnel. (More on this in the next newsletter.)
Proposed right-to-work legislation didn't survive committee hearings that were heavily attended by Labor advocates and members – including representatives from Teamsters Joint Council 62. Alcohol Tax: Unfortunately, effective in July we'll see the tax on beer, wine and spirits rise for the first time since 1972. The revenue from the tax will go to education aid, the developmentally disabled and school construction in the biggest counties. That's the good news. As to the bad news, we'll just have to wait to see how the tax increase affects tour alcohol distribution employers' bottom line. Health Care: Also at the top of O'Malley's list was a pair of bills that will make the Old Line State the third in the country to create a health care exchange in line with the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). Maryland follows California and West Virginia in creating the exchanges, which are intended to offer consumers a one-stop marketplace from which to access a number of health insurance options. O'Malley waited barely 12 hours after the final session wrapped up to ink his name to the two measures: SB 182/HB 166, which establishes the exchange as a public corporation and lays out its basic governance framework, and SB 183/HB 170, which aligns several state laws with ACA requirements, including allowing young adults to stay on their parents' health coverage until age 26 and barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle: The existing ban on writing texts while driving is now expanded to include reading them, as well. A bill that would have allowed the police to pull over motorists for using their phones or hand-held devices failed. A driver must also be committing another offense to be issued a citation for using the phone. Interlock for drunk drivers: Inebriated drivers who far exceed the blood-alcohol limit will be required to use ignition interlock devices on their vehicles. Drivers who decline to take a breathalyzer test would also be required to use the devises. Anyone who declines to participate would have their license revoked. Presidential primary date changed: Under pressure from the Democratic and Republican parties, Maryland moved the date for the 2012 presidential primary to April. (The 2008 primary was in February.) Less taxes, more fees:Lawmakers mulled a multitude of tax increases, but in the end turned to an assortment of fees to balance the state's $14.6 billion budget. They voted to double charges for recording land deals, obtaining birth certificates, registering vehicle titles and having personalized license plates.
Sources: Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Washington Business Journal, StateNet, Daily Record.
Unions, Supporters Honor Dr. King, Rally for Workers' Rights
All across the country, thousands of Teamsters turned out April 4th for rallies commemorating the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
More than 1,000 mobilizations nationally were organized under the “We Are One” umbrella, in which more than a million workers stopped business as usual either at work or after work to join vigils at their workplace, community rallies or marches at statehouses, coordinated by the AFL-CIO and many unions, community, religious and student groups. About 2,000 people marched from the Treasury Department to the offices of Kock Industries, headquarters of right-wing funders Charles and David Koch. Demonstrators carried signs saying "I Am A Man," "I Am A Woman" and "I Am A Worker," which linked "the current struggles with the 1968 Memphis sanitation workers strike King was supporting when he was assassinated. More here hereat TeamsterNation and at LaborNotes Day of Action pro-worker activities made headlines all across the nation. Take a look over at LaborStart.US and nytimes.com
March 25 - The right-to-work legislation (and its companion bill, SB 660) would prohibit an employer from refusing to employ or continue to employ an individual based on membership or nonmembership in a labor organization; prohibits an employer from requiring an individual to refrain from joining or from requiring an individual to become a member of a labor organization; prohibits an employer from requiring an individual to pay specified charges to a labor organization.
The house bill (HB 743) was referred to the Economic Matters Committee February 10, 2011. The committee issued an Unfavorable Report March 15.
Attacks on working families and their unions continue around the nation. Right-to-work legislation has been introduced in Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia.
Tax bills HB121 and SB168 introduced in January in the Maryland State Legislature would raise alcohol beverage taxes by more than 790%.
The hike would translate to price increases for the consumer, resulting in lost sales and lost jobs that are directly provided by alcohol industry producers, distributers and retailers.
The cost of a case of beer will go up $2.41. It will cost $1.01 more for a 1.5 liter of wine. The price of a 1.75 liter of liquor will increase by a whopping $3.94.
Bottom line: This so-called "Dime a Drink" tax increase proposal would threaten the jobs of all employees in the alcohol/liquor distribution industry.
The tax proposal will most likely be in the mix until the end of the Legislature session which will adjourn on or around April 11th. We need you to contact your legislators right now (it will only take about 30 seconds) and urge them to vote NO on HB121 and SB168 that would raise fees on beverage alcohol and result in the destruction of our jobs. Here's how:
1. Go to savemymdjob.com/take-action
2. Enter your zip code, email address, mailing address, and name (to verify you are a constituent)
3. Click "Send Email Letter"
"This agreement is good for our workers and good for transit riders. It provides fair wage increases over a 4-year contract term and avoids disruption in transit service," said Sean Cedenio, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 570. "The agreement also relieves covered employees of a portion of their health insurance cost burden."
"Additionally, the Union and the Company worked together to implement enhanced safety standards and improvements to its attendance policy. I don't think our success in obtaining this contract would have been possible if the workers were not highly mobilized to get fair compensation for the services they provide. I want to thank the public for their very important role in our success. Their support was critical for us. At one point, a mass of supportive emails from concerned riders shut down the company's email system.
"The ratification of the new contract concludes a long, protracted battle to get what these workers deserved. It will help our people plan for a better future for themselves and their families while they continue to provide safe and on-time service to the commuting public."
After fifteen months of protracted negotiations with Veolia Transportation in Loudoun County, Virginia, dozens of Local Union 570 drivers and various community and church leaders marched on the boss Wednesday in Purcellville, VA to deliver a petition demanding a fair deal for the workers. The petition was signed by a supermajority of the workers. The solidarity action by angry members ratchets up the Union's pressure on the company to end its stalling tactics, and bargain a new contract that will give them a fair deal.
Local 570 represents 78 Veolia Transportation drivers and mechanics. A French multinational corporation, Veolia Transportation - one of the most profitable transportation conglomerates in the world - manages Loudoun County transit services.
"We are struggling to make car payments, pay our rent, and this is unfair," said driver Alvaro Urquidi. "Everyone thinks we are making more money, but we're not. We are not asking for much, just a little bit of fairness."
The union and the company remain apart over wages and health insurance contribution costs. Members are looking for a return to the 2009 pay scale with moderate rate increases over 2 years. The company is proposing a 4-year contract with a flat rate increase which means it would take an employee seven or eight years to reach a top rate of pay, rather than four years.
Responding to circulated rumors of a pending strike, LU 570 Secretary-Treasurer Sean Cedenio said, "It is our job to try to negotiate a deal with the company that is fair to both sides. The last thing that anybody wants is a strike. We do not want to inconvenience the riding public, and we want to be sure that we act responsibly. At the same time, what's on the table from the company is unacceptable."
In November 2009 Local 570 agreed to a 13-month contract extension which expired Jan. 31, 2011. The union agreed to an extension that expired February 14 and a new one is set to expire March 3, with talks set for Feb. 28 and March 1.
Wednesday's unity action got results: Late Wednesday, Local 570 negotiators received word that the company is ready to go back to the table - next Tuesday, February 22.
It's time for respect!
It's time for a new contract!
Check out the media coverage of Wednesday's solidarity action here, here, and here.
No matter in what state you hold your driver's license, if you are issued a "payable" traffic ticket in the State of Maryland, you will no longer be given an automatic trial date to appear in court. (You have a payable traffic violation when the officer checks "This is a payable citation" on your traffic ticket.) Effective January 1, 2011 a new process is in place, which means you must respond within 30 days or risk having your driver's license suspended.
Within 30 days of receipt of a ticket, you must takeone of the following three actions –
1. Pay the ticket: In person at your local District Court Mail to
District Court Traffic Processing Center
P.O. Box 6676 Annapolis, MD
21401-0676 Pay onlinehere Pay by phone with a credit card by calling 1-800-492-2656
2. Ask for a waiver hearing at the District Court instead of a trial to plead guilty with explanation - Mark the "Request a Waiver Hearing" box on the ticket Sign and date the ticket Mail to the District Court Traffic Processing Center (address listed above)
3. Ask for a trial date at the District Court to dispute the ticket - Mark the "Request a Trial" box on the ticket Sign and date the ticket Mail to the District Court Traffic Processing Center (address listed above)
In 2010, Maryland lawmakers passed a new law that says citizens who get ticketed for committing a violation such as speeding, failure to obey traffic signs or signals, or failure to stop for a school bus, must ask for a trial if they wish to dispute the ticket. Moving violation offenses that do not require incarceration (jail time) - such as driving while under the influence on a suspended license – are considered payable – i.e. the payment of a fine. If a driver does not respond within 30 days after receiving a traffic ticket, the District Court will notify the Motor Vehicle Administration to begin the driver's license suspension process.
The Maryland Point System The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration maintains a point system for all moving violations. Some offenses are characterized as "moving violations" while others are not. Moving violations carry one point or more under Maryland's 12-point scale: an unsafe lane change carries one point while driving while a license is revoked carries 12 points. You can further review those designated "moving violations" at Code of Maryland Regulations, Section 11.17.13.02.
Accumulating points on your driving record will effect both the status of your license, and your automobile insurance rates.
Below are the assessment of points:
1. Any "moving violation" not listed below and not contributing to an accident
2. Following another vehicle too closely 3. Speeding in excess of the posted speed limit by 10 mph or more 4. Driving with an improper class of license 5. Failing to stop for a school vehicle with activated alternately flashing red lights 6. Any violation of S. 21-111 of the TR article (putting glass/refuse on highway/bridge/waters) 7. Passing an emergency or police vehicle under the provisions of S. 21-405(d) of the TR 8. A violation of S. 21-511(a) of TR article (failure to yield for a blind or deaf pedestrian) 9. Failure to stop a vehicle for a steady red traffic signal in violation of S. 21-202 of this article or a nonfunctioning traffic control signal violation of S. 21-209 of this article 10. Operating a limousine in violation ofS. 21-1127(a) of this article 3 Points 11. Any moving violation contributing to an accident 12. Any violation of S. 16-303 (h) or (i) of this article (suspended license) 13. Any violation, except violations committed on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95), of S. 21-1411 of this article (certain HazMat violations)
14. Speeding in excess of the posted speed limit by 30 mph or more 15. Driving while not licensed 16. Failure to report and accident 17. Driving on a learner's permit unaccompanied 18. Any violation of S 17-107 (driving an uninsured vehicle) 19. Participating in a race or speed contest in a highway 20. Any violation of S 16-304 or S 16-305 of this article (causing or permitting an unauthorized minor to drive) 21. Any violation of S. 22-404.5 of this article (selling or offering for sale unsafe tires) 22. Speeding in excess of a posted speed limit of 65 mph by 20 mph or more 23. Aggressive driving in violation of S. 21-901.2 of this article
24. Reckless driving 8 Points 25. Driving while impaired by alcohol or while impaired by a drug, combination of drugs or a combination of one or more drugs and alcohol, or driving within 12 hours after arrest under S. 21-902.1 (DUI) of this article 26. Turning off lights if a vehicle to avoid identification 27. Failing to stop after an accident resulting in damage to an attended vehicle or property 28. Failing to stop after an accident resulting in damage to an unattended vehicle or property 29. Any violation of S.16-815 or S.16-816 of this article (operating a commercial or school vehicle without proper class license 30. Failing to stop after an accident resulting in bodily injury or death 31. Any violation of S.16-303 of this title (driving while license is refused, cancelled, suspended or revoked), excluding S. 16-303(h) or (i)
32. Any violation of S.16-301 (unlawful application for use of license), S. 16-302 (duplication or reproduction of identification card or drivers license), 16-804 (possessing more than one license while a commercial driver), or S.16-808 (a) (1 through 9) or (b) of this title (driving commercial vehicle while commercial license is refused, cancelled, suspended or revoked) 33. Homicide, life threatening injury under S.3-211 of the Criminal Law Article, or assault committed by means of a vehicle 34. Driving while under the influence of alcohol, while under the influence of article per se, or while impaired by an illegally used controlled substance 35. Any felony involving the use of a vehicle
36. Fleeing or attempting to elude an officer 37. The making of a false affidavit or statement under oath, or falsely certifying to the truth of any fact or information to the Administration under the Maryland Vehicle Law or under any law relating to the ownership or operation of motor vehicles 38. Any violation involving an unlawful taking or unauthorized use of a motor vehicle under S.7-105 or S.7-203 of the Criminal Law Article, or S. 14-102 of this article
“… the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who today attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.”
King's Words Continue to Have Relevance For Us Today
JANUARY 15, 2011 - At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the heroic leader of the American Civil Rights Movement, was assassinated at a Memphis hotel after leading a march in support of the city's 1,300 striking sanitation workers. Dr. King, the Nobel Peace-Prize-winning campaigner for economic and social justice, died while supporting the right of public employees to organize, fight for decent wages and preserve public services.
City officials had refused to recognize the union, and in so doing refused to recognize the workers. At another rally held a month earlier, Dr. King told a Memphis crowd of thousands:
“You are demanding that this city will respect the dignity of labor. So often we overlook the significance of those who are not in professional jobs. Of those who are not in the so-called big jobs. But let me say to you tonight that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity and it has worth… You are reminding not only Memphis but you are reminding the nation, that it is a crime for people in this rich nation to receive starvation wages.”
In his speech delivered in support of the Memphis garbage workers the night before he died, Dr. King said,
“The question is, 'If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?' That's the question. Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be.”
As the attacks on public workers' rights to organize and bargain escalate, the rest of our rights may not be far behind. So as we honor Dr. King's memory on the anniversary of his birth, let us commit to preserving his legacy by supporting each other and our fellow workers, and continuing to demand dignity and respect on the job, in our community and in our nation.
Get involved. Get active.
DEC. 13, 2010 - More than 140 stewards and their guests attended Local 570’s Shop Steward Seminar, Dinner and Dance held November 20 at Martin’s East in Baltimore. Steward seminars are usually held every year – the last one this past January – but periodically the Local sponsors a well-deserved celebration for the hard-working, dedicated members who are on the front lines of the Union every day.
Master of Ceremonies and Local 570 President Ray Valentine individually recognized all the stewards, and provided introductions for the guest speakers, including Maryland Commissioner of Labor & Industry Ron DeJuliis who delivered greetings from Governor O’Malley; Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Mediator Bill McFadden; Kim Bradley, attorney at Abato, Rubenstein & Abato who handles Local 570’s Health and Pension Fund; Jim Rosenberg, also of Abato, Rubenstein & Abato who represents Local 570 in arbitration proceedings; retired Local 570 officer and business agent Kevin McDermott, and Mark Frey, shop steward for the drivers at F.P. Winner and one of the original organizers of the group. Mark was also recognized for his role in defeating an aggressive decertification drive at the company this year.
Secretary-Treasurer Sean Cedenio provided a “State of the Union” summarizing the Local’s successes – and battles – of the year. Sean expressed great appreciation for the work the stewards perform. He told the audience “that it is only through working in unison as a union will we be able to survive through tough times”.
Member and Pastor Albert Johnson provided the invocation. Raffle winners were Albert Johnson and Paul Davis, (Veolia Transportation); Tom Joicy (Entenmanns’s); Jim Smallwood (Madison Warehouse); James Roche (Leonard Paper); Dexter Harrison (Merchants Terminal Corp.); James Johnson (RNDC); and Bryant Jones (F.P. Winner). – Pictured (L-R): Myron Love, Tim Grochowski, and Mike Brack of Stroehmann's Bakery. Additional photos will be uploaded to the photo gallery soon.
MAR. 9, 2012 | At a ratification meeting held March 3, Entenmann's and Stroehmann employees overwhelmingly approved a new contract agreement that provides wage increases, healthy bonuses for hourly and commission workers, and preserves the 0% employee contribution to health care premiums. About the no-regressions pact, Principal Officer Sean Cedenio said, "After many months of grueling negotiations, the parties arrived at a package agreement in the wee hours of the morning of March 2 - one that employees can be happy with going forward."